Thursday, July 29, 2010

A breton explanation of heaven and hell through topography

The little town where I'm staying has two funny little street signs:

(Hell Street)

(Heaven Way)

I happen to live on one of them, fortunately (I suppose), the latter one. Besides being located right behind the church (one would think, a surer way to heaven), it's also on a pretty steep incline:

Whereas Hell Street, as you might have guessed, goes down:

So there you go, heaven is up, hell is down. Pretty simple, no?

My own notion of heaven this morning was riding my bike to the beach for a swim. Turquoise water, soft pebbles, yellow rocks. Kelp. Gulls. And the cove to myself, all before lunch.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Looking for the silver lining on a bike

Staying with family is not always easy. After the first few days, all the things that might have annoyed you about a person at some point start to resurface. The way they do certain things, how you get into arguments. You might have thought you had changed but there it is, the same kind of confrontations, again. In a way it's good it happens because - at least for me - it forces us to confront the issues. In my case, I feel like I'm learning more about who they are. I try to see them in a different light, and to give them the same respect and clemency I would grant anyone else I am led to meet in my life otherwise. It's quite eye opening, also challenging, very difficult at times, yet I'm grateful for the experience...but it can all get a bit exhausting!

So for a change of pace I went on a bike ride. My Dad has just fixed up an old bike I fell in love with, so I defied the grey skies and chilly weather and headed inland to the fields and country lanes. I bumped my way along the rocky paths and had a pretty good time. I found cows, wheat fields, corn fields, fallow fields filled with wild flowers, and even a bumblebee at work on a thistle.

On my way back I rode by the seafront, and up to a house I used to fantasize about as a child. It's been redone into apartments but still looks the part (of the romantic summer mansion). From there a small lane goes down to a creek where I found my silver lining. I sat there for a while and watched the tide.

Monday, July 26, 2010

July apples, and an update on the Deer Convention Project

La photo du jour: sweet yellow apples of July ("Pommes de Juillet") from the garden, one of which I had for lunch:

this is where they live:


I've also been working on the Deer Convention Project or so I call the drive to fund the album - and it had a wonderful start. I'm amazed that we're already a quarter of the way to our goal...but there is still some way to go! If you were thinking of pledging but haven't done so yet, just visit the page here and you'll be on your way in a few clicks. 
A million thank yous to all who have already contributed. I feel very fortunate to have so many people involved in the process already. Updates on the project's progress will be here but also on the kickstarter page. I can't wait for the Deer Convention to literally take flight! (as the song goes...)

And please please if you can, spread the word. Blog about it, repost, retweet (the page has very easy-to-use share buttons) or forward to your friends and family. Thank you thank you. And thank you.

Meanwhile, I'm still thinking of what the cover will look like. What do you think of using this photo?

or one of those?


Sunday, July 25, 2010

L'éclaircie du soir

An evening walk to the harbor with my Dad. Sunny since the early evening. The coast has been overcast and windy, not very warm. Sweater weather, and a light drizzle this morning. Tonight the seaside colored itself glorious for us.

And the whimsical moon:

Saturday, July 24, 2010

To market, to market

I arrived in Brittany last night. Late night drive in the slowly fading, long lasting daylight, the hills getting lower as we approached the seaside, with clumps of trees clinging to their backs. Morning with the sea in my window.

I went down to the Saturday market, a weekly delight as a child. The narrow streets of the little town get extremely crowded, and all sorts of colorful characters and tempting trickets catch the eye. This time I was struck by the simple beauty of the food displays:

..and the unavoidable crêpes!

Friday, July 23, 2010

A trip to the bookstore and some Swiss humor

Visited a fine bookstore, La Belle Aventure, where I restocked on French books. I passed on a volume of Chekhov's short stories for the sake of my suitcase's weight, and instead went for more recent (or new
to me) French female authors...I think I have enough to read for the summer? 

The bookstore also carried a great selection of amazing postcards made by two eccentric Swiss brothers, Plonk & Replonk. Surrealist, absurd, and uproariously funny are words that come to mind - but you have to see for yourself:

(la danse des pommes de terre en robe des champs au printemps)
(the dance of the potatoes in 'field dress' (=in the skin) in the spring)

(a very rare fishing accident)

(the end of the lake. The elders thought that the lake was flat, like the earth. And that if one went to the end of it, they would fall into the void.)

(a flock of 'absent-minded' ('étourneau' is a bird, 'étourdi' is absent-minded) waiting for rescue.)

(mechanical boat with winder.)

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Strange contraptions

Last night we went on an evening walk through the old town. I kept seeing these strange things sticking out of the walls:

Under closer inspection, it turns out to have been designed to scrape the mud off your boots - you know, before the roads were paved and you'd get to someone's door with mud all over your shoes.

 Perhaps a sort of early version of the doormat...Here, a few more examples:

...quite the local oddity, indeed!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Thoughts on French food and politics

In France right now, where I will be for the next month. I'm slowly getting situated, and the jetlag is not too bad this time around. It was very hot until yesterday, and got a little cooler and overcast today. The food is amazing as expected...yesterday I had lunch in a nice organic, local produce only restaurant with my sister-in-law. Right in the middle of the town, facing an old church, and with a funny slogan:

(nourriture et vin non issus de la pensée unique)

Interesting to see a kind of politics I'm used to see in the Bay Area at work here too. Lots of flyers in the bathroom, with another quote, from Hippocrates (along the lines of 'let food be your medicine'). Meanwhile the police came slowly driving or  strolling by at least 3 times (we had a long lunch, but still...)- a lot of them everywhere it seems. I even saw soldiers with machine guns in the Montparnasse train station, standing guard at either side of the main stairs...

Meanwhile, what I've come to call the Deer Convention Vinyl Project had a glorious start! 
I need your help to make the dream come true, so please click this link to check it out, watch the video, pledge, and spread the word!

Thursday, July 15, 2010

NEW ALBUM - The Deer Convention

Great news! the new album is finally ready to be released! it's about 40 minutes long, has 11 songs, they're all in order and mixed. Also, as you've guessed, it's named. I'm incredibly excited about the way it sounds, there's been some really fantastic collaborations going on during the recording process.

I'm planning a release for the Fall, and decided to fund it through
Kickstarter, since I'd really like to make it available on vinyl - and that cost a little bit of money! The way Kickstarter works is a little like having the opportunity to preorder your copy of the album, or just the digital version if you so wish. For every amount pledged there is a corresponding reward, and I came up with some pretty special things for you (you could even be credited as executive producer, get an exclusive recording of the next, not-yet-named album - or have your own private concert!). So the best thing is for you to go and check out that link, find out more about the project and what the money will be for, read the little blurb, and watch the video. I'm pretty proud of that one too!

And please, SPREAD THE WORD!
Every repost counts, as we have a deadline, and the more people know about this, the more likely we are to meet our goal. Thanks a million!