Monday, September 30, 2013

Accidental Farce

My weekend was one of those that began with a pleasant sense of anticipation and adventure, only to turn into a unexpected battle with Cabin Fever, sprinkled with moments right out of a Marx Brothers film... Laughable yet frustrating moments of apparent idiocy... First of all, my friday night plans were rescheduled to Saturday night, leaving me free to conquer Paris on my own for the evening. I had found a jazz bar online that not only had no entrance fee, but was supposed to be in the home of an old dungeon and outfitted with a real guillotine... Who in their right mind wouldn't want to watch jazz with images of Marie Antoinette and revolutionary France flitting through your mind?! Let them eat cake! Or wotevs...

I arrived at Saint-Michel around 10pm, totally forgetting that this neighborhood on a Friday night would absolutely be akin to walking through Times Square... well, anytime... But once I made my way through the masses, I located the bar with relative ease. The upstairs was seemingly dead, so I took a risk and descended through a door in the back, assuming the music must be downstairs, which it was. I was aggressively asked what I wanted by a waitress and when I looked at her stupidly, having no idea what to say in response, she said in English "tell me"... It is one thing to ask stupid questions in English, but when forced in an unknown tongue, the sensation is yes, even stupider... Ultimately, I was put into a seat, given a menu, and ended up with a lackluster glass of white wine for more than I've spent on wine anywhere in France so far... Then the music started, which while definitely energetic and good, was not the jazz that I was anticipating. I tried to look around, and may have seen a secret passage behind the crowded audience, but after about 45 minutes of what I can only describe as 60s-esque funk slash maybe jazzy soul music-ish, I left, having never found my beloved guillotine. Never fear, I SHALL master this bar again in future... 

Oh! But let us not forget the icing on iconic M.A's cake... Taking the RER back to my apartment, I sat on the upper level as I prefer to do, and was reading something I had downloaded to my phone, when a swarm of obnoxious boys infiltrated the train car and of course, sought out the one blonde girl sitting by herself. Why on earth do men think I will find hideously drunken attempts to tell me I'm beautiful, though I've never spoken to you in my life and clearly look uninterested, appealing? If I am such a queenlike being, as the night's theme would suggest, I obviously have no time for such peasants...

Saturday came along, fully expecting evening plans that also somehow managed to crash and burn... My friend disappeared and I was left to my own devices once again. The next day I found out that he had lost his phone and was finally able to locate it at a friend's house, but had no way of notifying me before then. Another example of vaudevillian comedy in the age of technology... But even more ridiculous than that, I was finally introduced to the completely absurd antics of a newly acquainted neighbor on the floor of my building... I had actually already met her a week or two ago, she seemed nice, and I didn't think much of her until she began asking for "favors". In the course of that day, she asked to borrow my phone for a minute than asked me if she could have some of the bread that she saw me carrying into my room. In exchange, she gave me a tea light. Ok, fine... I am happy to help neighbors here and there, why not? 

Well, all was fine and dandy until Saturday night rolled along and she realized that I was staying in for the evening... First she came over to give me some old French magazines, so that I could practice reading French. How lovely and thoughtful! Then she came back to ask if I had anything to drink other than wine, noticing I had a glass of rosé with my dinner. Sure! Here is some orange juice! THEN she came back to ask if she could use my computer, just for a moment, because she needed to check something. Ok why not, I'm in the middle of eating, you saw me actually using my computer, but sure. This incident of course took more than one minute, during which time my food got cold, she was watching some lottery show on my computer, and before leaving she reminded me that I shouldn't eat too much food or I would get fat... Wait for it... She came back AGAIN to ask me what rosé is called in English, and to question me about my level of education and how I paid for it... Not done... The FINAL knock at the door was to tell me that it was her brother's birthday and she wanted me to call him pretending to be her because it would be funny... Rather than slap her in the face (in a thoroughly slapstick sort of way) as I admittedly wanted to do, I told her that I really wasn't feeling well and that's why I was staying home for the evening so I was sorry but really couldn't help her...

I admit, I really had few words for the experience. It felt like some terrible Seinfeld/Peter Sellers comedy. It's possible that she finally got the message with that last incident, but I am not at all sure. For the moment, I am still wary of footsteps heading toward my door, and highly considering some Marie Antoinette sort of security...

Friday, September 27, 2013

Museum Musings

Yesterday I visited the Louvre, a place I have not been to since I studied abroad in college. While living in London for 6 months, studying theatre and acting full-time, I was only conveniently able to travel for one week during spring break. One of my best friends and I spent a couple days in Florence, and a couple of days in Paris, during which time I made sure we saw as many of the sights as humanly possible. The major flaw in my plan to revisit this museum yesterday was that it slowly turned into one of the warmest and sunniest days I've experienced here in several weeks. The other slightly more subtle flaw was the fact that, let's just put it out there right now, I get bored at museums a lot faster than I like to admit...

There seems to be some sort of a disconnect between my love of the beautiful, my love of history, and my general reaction to physically being in a museum. I desperately want to be the type of person who loves art and I certainly enjoy perusing... for a short time... But while browsing about can be interesting and aesthetically pleasing, I really don't want to think about it all very much. I absolutely marvel at people who can stare at a painting for hours, absorbed in its many layers of nuance and find cultural fulfillment in that way. Perhaps the sensory overload sparks my emerging ADD and just makes it impossible to focus. Because while I do enjoy the idea of it all, the actual immersion tends to bore me pretty quickly. This does not apply to all museums, as one of my favorite, Musee D'Orsay did not bore me or unnerve my tranquility via masses of tourists. However, I still felt that while loving impressionism and adoring the study of art history that surrounds that era, I was quite content to glance at a painting and let its worth fleetingly touch my neuroses while I moved on to something else. 

I am sorry to compare museums to malls, but here are the similarities... There are often too many people in both, there are many lines for sought after items as well as bathrooms, the air circulation isn't good, it is full of annoying people in addition to interesting folk, and you are on your feet for many hours. The larger either one gets, the more difficult and overwhelming to maneuver, leaving you feeling hungry and systematically compelled to buy overpriced food and merchandise. In terms of museums, if you are lucky you leave enriched by positive culture, history, and experience, but with a mall, you might leave with a really pretty dress. Pick your poison...

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Parisian Retro Motor Barbie

Last night I engaged in a delectable meal at a Moroccan restaurant not far from Republique, bordering the Marais. Vast amounts of food were delivered to our table, including a heaping plate of fluffy wheat-based carbs, a bowl overflowing with vegetables and juices, a side of chili paste to be added as we like, and whatever meat we chose. Continuing with my adventures in food-tasting, I was encouraged to order the braised veal (called "mechoui") as my protein selection, which I decided to do. All in all, the food was savory, filling, and actually way too much food for any normal human to eat on their own. My recent attempts to cut back on obscene amounts of food were completely scoffed at. Not to mention that for dessert, the servers bring over a humassive tray of delectable sugary treats from which you choose as few or as many as you like and are charged accordingly. My only request during the selection process was that one of the sweets be pink. 

But the main attraction of the evening was the fact that for the SECOND TIME, I rode on the back of a motorscooter. Though when I was first asked to ride on a scooter my mind immediately envisaged the childish foot-pushing scooters that are so popular these days, this is much more like a vespa, though admittedly not as retro chic. One of my biggest dreams before arriving in Paris was to zoom around this metropolis on a pink vespa with a silver lightning bolt down the side, or vice versa. Obviously, I would also be costumed in a pink and white leather motor suit and accompanying helmet. My name far and wide would henceforth be Parisian Retro Motor Barbie. And yes, I have already written a poem about it. Sadly, I feel fairly certain that I will mainly die if I attempt to cycle or roadster around the streets of Paris too often, but as my new friend (who shall be called "the Giant" in all future references because he is approximately 6 foot 5) insisted I would be safe under his protection, I promptly acquiesced... Lesson learned? Motorbiking of any sort is sort of freaking awesome and a total thrill! The only thing slightly more ludicrous and therefore even more amazing, would be bopping about in a sidecar instead...

Sunday, September 22, 2013

French Floozy Hangover

Thus far in France I have developed the reputation for drinking too much wine (preferably rosé) and being a magnet for men... In essence, a lushy slutty whore... In some respects, I suppose I cannot officially deny this accusation. I do enjoy wine, I tend to drink just that little bit more than my body can handle, and my flirtation abilities seem to be far more effective on French soil than in the U.S. Last night, for example, I ventured to an Aussie Pub in the heart of Paris. I had been to another branch of the same Pub two years ago because two of my friends worked there at the time. This other location has quite the same aesthetic and post-10pm on a Saturday night very quickly turns into a night club full of guys and gals several years younger than me at best. Within moments of being in the bar, a man approached my friend and I, mainly because he heard us speaking in English. He is an Aussie man himself, in Paris for work, so it seemed that he wanted to chat with some English speakers. My friend rolled her eyes at me in hilarity because she clearly expected me to eventually make out with him... Which I did NOT do, thank you very much... Fine, I have kissed three guys since being in France. Not a record for anyone I am sure, but it's also not my fault that I am inexpressibly adorable and appealing ; )

Here is the theory I have developed: Different countries/cities have different boy slash romantic karma, just as they all have different atmospheres and vibes, etc... Both times I have lived in Paris, I had more successful interactions with men than I ever did in the entire 10 years I lived in New York. That is not to say I am married and finished and only met men who fawn all over me and successfully date my ever-loving soul, but I did fall in love and experience what it was to be adored and treated well. There are still many equally as frustrating things about men in this country as in any other. The difference is probably my mentality and the fact that I am an exotic foreigner. I want to be here, I feel confident, happy, hopeful, and full of enthusiasm for new opportunities. Those feelings radiate and permeate and yes, act like a magnet in some respects. 

The musings of a hangover are what allow me to conjure up these precious mind-gems. The one thing I will say, however, is that there must be a way to enjoy the crazy antics of the previous evening without the horrific repercussions of the next morning. My body, always battling the overwhelming powers of dehydration, more often than not could really use a portable hydrating IV that can be slipped into your purse or pocket. I challenge current scientists to consider this invention. Though, I could also consider the idea that drinking wine in France does not make me French, sadly enough, and I therefore do not have the DNA that allows me to imbibe the grapevine elixir without some impending peril... Sigh... The merging of cultures is always a bit tricky...

Thursday, September 19, 2013


Sept 19... International Talk Like A Pirate Day... The day of all days... One in which frolicking ridiculousness, piracy, and swashbuckling is not only tolerated but supported and encouraged to unparalleled heights! When I left the Connecticut suburbs post-college graduation to take on the Big Apple 10 years ago, a group of similar-minded cohorts threw me and a good friend of mine a pirate going away party. We were ordered to dress up in pirate gear at a designated time and place, where we were abducted, blindfolded, and swept away to another friend's home. Here, after dashing heroics through the rain and up the stairs, we were forced to "walk the plank" which involved being pushed onto a mattress covered with a blue blanket while the Pirates of the Caribbean film score was playing in the background. For the rest of the day we drank grog, engaged in general merriment, and it may have been here that the very first Pirate poem was written and performed. (I have a bit of a reputation for getting tipsy, writing and then reading poetry in public places... Often on chairs... )There may have been a hiatus for a year or two, but thus began the tradition of writing a poem about pirates every year on September 19. Now, the purpose of this blog is not to detail the inner-workings of this particular holiday. I direct you to the official website for that information...

This blog IS, however, a home for absurdity and the importance of sharing it with the masses. Today is another day for soul-rambling, this time about the perils of Parisian pirates. You will find below not only my newest poem, but a Chronology of those from years past if you so choose to be brought up to date. Spend the day dancing in ridiculousness and piratical praise...


Les Rêves de Pirates by Angela Lewonczyk

Of dreams, all pirates have a vision, glimmering and clear,
Not just of buried treasure and imbibing grog or beer.

But looking through the distance, seeing lights from heavens shine,
They hear the call of new adventure yearning to be thine.

For many years the wish of love and frolicking so free,
Has been the wish of Pirates with their hearts set on Paris.

To swashbuckle on Notre Dame or pillage Père Lachaise,
When raiding Trocadéro, "Oui! Avast!" is what they says.

Instead of brigantines the metro-lubbering will reign,
Though Davy Jones will happily reside under La Seine.

And nothing can prevent pursuit of ravagement or wenching,
Le roi des pirates, Captain of seductive Paris-quenching.

No matter what the land, the blethering of pirate lingo,
will lilt with any pirate chanty readying to sing, oh!

The pirate conquest planned from past ideals and romance,
Is now mission accomplished with an aaaarrr and Vive La France!


CIRCA 2012

A Pirate Poem By Angela Lewonczyk

Last year pirates toured the seas to Paris and beyond,
While this year pirates lounge about at home.
But whether traipsing far and wide or taking a sweet nap,
the pirates of hearts are always known.

Sometimes I wish that pirates were the ones that make the rules,
some swashbuckling, some grog, some chivalry.
I'd sail the seas on ships of gold, a singing pirate wench,
allowing pirate kings to ravage me ; )

Next year I'll return abroad, in pirate decadence,
to aaaarrrrr and aye avast a la francais!
The landlubber of NYC will take to swirling seas
and live the pirate life for all her days!!!

CIRCA 2011
Parisian Pirates
A Pirate Poem: By Angela Lewonczyk
Pirates are everywhere all through the world
They drink every continent's grog.
Though soon I will frolic to Paris and France
Sweet pirates will sail through the fog.
Instead of a tricorn there might be berets
Instead of some rum will be wine
But swashbucklin' gallantry never will fail
Though cheese may replace salty brine.
A pirate wench, mermaid, and lady am I
Frolicking, fencing, and free
But always combined with the feminine wiles
Of elegant French coquetry.
Bon boyage, oh me hearties, Bonjour, aye, and avast!
I shall sail to your shores with great savvy
Bedecked with some charm and some sweet savoir-faire
They'll say there she blows! And merci ; )

CIRCA 2010
"The Continuing Saga of Claire"
A Pirate Poem by Angela Lewonczyk
The great cosmic wave of piratical bliss
is never to end in despair
For just as with every new nautical tale
I'll continue the story of Claire...
For now Claire is made of mer-magical stuffs
and her new ocean life is a dream.
She sings and she dances and spreads thoughts of love,
friends with manatees, starfish, and bream.
Her epic adventures will often involve
the piracy drama surfside.
The ships that will sail through Poseiden's domain
are oft overflowing with pride.
The great Pirate Captains that below commands,
though grog makes it hard to quite fathom.
The First Mates that run on the deck all a tizzy,
protecting the Captain from bedlam.
The only thing missing from Pirate Perfection
is beauty to dazzle the crew.
A siren of infinite magical powers
to be the piratical muse.
Of course one sweet day our heroine Claire
was singing her shanties near land.
Seducing the landlubbers walking not far
to build fantasy castles in sand.
When along came a Captain, by name he is Jack
who was instantly captured by love.
His rambling soon became sonnets amour
and his heart sprouted wings like a dove.
He brought mermaid Claire to live on his great ship,
his tired First Mate got some rest.
For Claire was a songstress of infinite talent,
empowering Jack at his best.
The happiest days were not even upon
for the ship had eternal good cheer.
A swash and a buckle and booty to loot,
They were never again to have fear.

CIRCA 2009
"The Magical Tale of Claire"
A Pirate Poem by Angela Lewonczyk
Good morrow me hearties, it's time for a rant,
of another piratical tale.
This year I will herald the story of Claire,
one of piracy's greatest females.
Her adventure begins on a dark stormy night,
at the treacherous tip of the plank,
In her white heaving corset, the rain soaking through,
she is threatened to jump or say thanks.
For the vile Cap'n Seaweed had forced her sweet hand,
with his sword he had ravaged her grace.
And for all of these deeds she had spit in his eye
and refused to caress his gross face.
But what little they know of a woman with strength,
quite particularly when there is grog.
With an aye and avast and a swashbuckling cry
she leaps and sinks quite like a log.
But though the great Captain all hairy and fierce,
sings a triumphant shanty in cheer,
within precious few moments of reaching the deep,
our Heroine Claire reappears.
But instead of a pirate wench, bloomer-bedecked
she has transformed and rebirthed anew.
The sea-sprites enchanted her magical soul
and a mermaid rose sparkling and true.
She bobbed on the surface, all salty and svelte,
the great evil Captain was floored!
She floated away, all the victory hers,
to make merbabies, magic, and more : )

CIRCA 2008
Pirates Love, Oh Yes They Do
by Angela Lewonczyk
To pirate lovers near and far,
I take this chance to praise.
Of hearts and ships and fisticuffs,
it's all one pirate haze.
The lesson that I teach this year
is one of pirate love.
The truest treasure ever found
in any pirate cove.
Perhaps the journey makes you want
to walk that rusty plank.
With only minor little hopes
to float you to the bank.
But if for once you stop to think
of pirate diddies true.
There's rarely one that ends without
a rum-filled 'I love you'.
So man the ship, me hearties, yes!
I beg you, win this fight!
A battle for the will of love,
the Pirate's Love that's right!

CIRCA 2007
Happy Talk Like a Pirate Day!!!
Today is the day that my love of the sea
Is the only thing stronger than my love of me.
I wish, oh I wish I could frollick around
Through the billowing waves in a corseted gown
And then, wait, who is that, from the 'rizon he come.
A landlubbering swine? No, he's holding some rum!
And is that a fierce cutlass aswing by his side?
Oh huzzah and tra la tis a pirate arrived!
Without one single word he is wrapped round me tight
And the corset, so strong, has exploded on sight.
As the sun journeys down and the wind flys away
I am left with the pirate I love come what may.

CIRCA 2006
A Piratical Lament
by Angela Lewonczyk

Pirates here and pirates there
and pirates all around.
Pirates should be everywhere,
they should be world-renowned.

I heart them so for none can pass
their worth in my esteem.
They're beautiful but oh, alas,
of them I only dream.

For gone are days of frollicking
with pirates romantic.
Instead I'm melancholicing
for pirates archaic.

Today a pirate is a prat
who's fierce and uses guns.
Where are the cutlasses, the hats,
the wooden legs, the rum?

I want them all in flowy shirts,
on boats that carry grog.
Oh woe is me, oh how it hurts
to find no captain's log

That tells of shanties sung all night
by pirates in the mood
to tear through corsets pulled so tight,
a maudlin move, not rude.

But try I might to reeinvent
the piratechnics past
I'll have to end this sad lament
with memories that last.

CIRCA 2006

A New Pirate Poem by Angela Lewonczyk

The meaning of pirates is oh so profound
it's a thought that can hardly be brief.
It inspires us to sing shanties all in the round
while frollicking on a pink reef.
I heart all things pirate, the ayes and avasts,
especially the arrghs, swashs and buckles.
From the fine astrolabe to the ship's mighty mast
For all I would blaze my brass knuckles.

It's my dream to wed on a great pirate ship,
a fierce pirate king on my arm.
His hat I will wear and my corset he'll rip
he will love me but never do harm.

Too bad for the lame guys who never step up
but instead sit back in nervous fright.
Those landlubbers are but small non-scurvy pups
whom my scurvy dog pirates will bite.

But fortunately, there are those in our dreams
who make up for such devilish wrong.
Their scallywag ways are the booty we glean
to turn bilge into piraty grog.

So bring on that horizon our Cap'n Jack says
as his crew preps the galley below.
With a twinkling eye comes his last pirate phrase,
"Avast, me hearties, yo ho!"

CIRCA 2003
A New Pirate Poem by Angela Lewonczyk
Pirates are anywhere you want them to be,
they are under the dock or your skirt.
They make wonderful friends when you're steering your ship,
or when rolling around in the dirt.
In times of great need when life is a bore
their adventures will brighten your day.
Starboard, portside, below deck or up,
there is always a place for a lay.
But pirates are not only meant for the sex
cause they also know all about rum.
They like to sing songs about drinking some grog
and this is the tune that they hum:
"Ahoy ye matees, aghast and avast
for a pirate's life is oh so sweet.
Just give me a beauty and swill on your grog
and my life is just one giant treat.
Those land lubbers know not what they have been missing
when I hornpipe around my ship's galley.
Captain, first mate, or just random bloke,
we're all one big pirating ralley!"
So after a song and a drink up me hearties
it's time to get back to the lasses.
My sweet buxom beauty, they call to their girl
as they sit on their sweet pirate asses.
It's time for out plunder, they say with a grin,
Our booty we want to enjoy.
For booty is not just the treasure of gold,
it is also a womanly toy.
When finally night time has started full swing,
and the pirate king's wearing his crown.
He takes his fine wench to the bowels of the ship
and smartly says, well blow me down!
CIRCA 2003 or Earlier

Today blows like the wind in the sails.
Too bad there are no pirates here to tell us some tales,
cause I would not mind a swashbuckling mate
who might even think I'm cute and ask me to date.
Cept a pirate who dates is not what I like,
he's as sexy as maybe a tike on a trike
because what I most want is a Captain in shape
who is ready to take and not ravage but rape.
That is not to say that I want to be pained,
but when you put the word rape next to pirate
it therefore negates the sincerity meaned
and makes it more like sex with a mate.
A really really hot mate named Johnny Depp
who even when he has lost all his teeth
still makes me just want to do a time step
to make him take his sword from its sheath.
But not the metal kind of sword that you use to fight,
I mean more like the kind for the sex.
The sex I will have all day long and all night
with the fury of a giant T-Rex.
And then I will marry into the piracy clan
and make tons of pirate babies with hats
and they'll all wear peg legs and eye patches and sing songs
and make a musical that's more successful than Cats.
(castinets and timpani throughout)