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travel notes…

with 3 comments

1) Somewhat refreshing to take a break from posting and even scrolling through the RSS feeds. Amazingly, I took this break despite having free internet access here in Amsterdam. For me, it’s been nothing but the IHT and the Guardian at night, and some hotel bar writing (on paper!) and that’s that. I think I have a slight case of nostalgia for pre-totally-immersive ‘net days, which I’m not sure what to do with. Surely the boredom of being back stateside in a week will take care of that.

2) Amsterdam has won me over. If it is possible for my wife and I ever to haul off and make it as independent intellectuals (she’s much further along on this than I am, what with her book underway and agent and so forth), I vote for right here. Paris is lovely. But Amsterdam, it’s something else. The magazine store alone, up in the little square along with the American Book Store, is reason enough.

3) Looking for a place to calm the kiddo down for a nap while in Paris (by “calm the kid down” I of course mean seriously overdue unweaned boobie action but whatever. STFU) we wandered into the Place Dauphine, which is the sort of thing that happens in Paris. See Andre Breton, Nadja, for the significance of the place, the “clitoris of Paris”…

4) All for now, but thanks for continuing to read… I’ll be back on regular schedule soon enough…

Written by adswithoutproducts

May 24, 2007 at 4:19 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

3 Responses

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  1. ‘I think I have a slight case of nostalgia for pre-totally-immersive ‘net days,’

    I bet you do, and that is totally healthy: There is nothing like travel to make you remember that a whole lot of things are still there in their original form! I’ve had the hardest time figuring out how to sustain that nostalgia so that I now only spend about an hour on the net a day–max. After being one of the biggest pests in the blogosphere, I now find that I feel much less need to ‘connect’ via the net–and that I think of it all as a vast means of gathering necessary data, and occcasionally meeting someone I’ll get to know in real life, but not trying to bond too strongly based on the virtual itself. I still write here and there, but not nearly every day, and what is scary to me is that it took a while to ‘re-gather’ friends in Real Life again! (and that is the main reason I feel freer of it). I always had some dragging unhappiness about too much net communication (I like it now in moderation, but I think I got ‘stuck in it’ because I didn’t have regular access to it till 2003, and you fall into thousands of pits when you all of a sudden have it at your disposal). You’ve yourself got it built-in to some degree with having family life, which has to be attended to, but the way the thing is addictive is pretty sobering: If I didn’t have the luxury of actually self-therapizing myself from it, I don’t know what would have happened. I look back at some sites I used to participate in 4 years ago, and the ‘players’ are going around in the same circles, and they are using the net as a substitute for physical life.

    Enjoyed your travel notes, and am glad you’ve all had a good time.

    By the way, the self-conscious stuff does go away with age, as Belle Dame said on the other post. I used to have exactly the same symptoms–I used to actually worry about what people I was buying clothes from in stores thought of what I said; and in Paris, at Galeries Lafayettes, once, there was a guy that decided to back me up on it, and behave as if he would be doing me an enormous favour if he sold me an expensive jacket. It makes one feel like, all along, we were actually just as concerned with rococo superficialities as some of those terrible socialites about to creatively deal with jail terms, Bible in hand.

    patrick j. mullins

    May 24, 2007 at 9:01 pm

  2. The mention of Galeries Lafayettes has reminded me of one of my most embarrasing cultural miscommunications. I was trying to purchase a tie, I believe, and it turned out there are two tie sections in the store. Sophisticated ties on the 3rd floor and playful ties on the ground floor. Not knowing that, I was looking for a playful tie among the sophisticated and went to ask a salesman for help. He told me that I had to visit the “rez-de-chaussee.” Not knowing the phrase and being from a linguistic community that doesn’t have a special phrase for “ground floor” I assumed he was referring me to another store, called, obviously, the “Rez de Chaussee,” and I made him give me directions. He was baffled, I was ignorant, and I didn’t actually discover what had gone wrong until after I had scoured the surrounding streets looking for this other tie emporium.


    May 25, 2007 at 1:27 pm

  3. Patrick:

    It will be interesting to see what happens when I get back to the US. I always make little resolutions while I’m away – to live more this way and less that way – and they generally stick for longer or shorter periods of time. I’m not going to stop writing my posts – I may try to cut seriously down on the rss crawling and especially the comment box haunting.

    I’m also going to buy one of those pod-based coffee makers and start drinking coffee out of a teeny little cup. What hogs we are (I am) with our “ventis.”


    Good story. I’ve got a few like that. One, from when I was still a kid, about eating a bowl of salad dressing in Budapest. And today, when I asked about my comped meal (I’ll explain in a post in a second) the hotel person started explain how a restaurant works (“First you sit down, then they bring you a menu, you pick what you want and tell the man.”) I was like: Um, if I’m travelling to Amsterdam with a 2 year old, you might guess that, yes, I’ve eaten in a fucking restaurant before…

    More soon…


    May 25, 2007 at 2:40 pm

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