I’ve always been a HUGE fan of generic.  There’s nothing I hate more than paying extra for marketing.  It’s soap.  You tell me that it’s going to make all my smelly problems go away and flowers and fairy dust will swirl around making my clothes cleaner than ever.  But, that’s not true.  Soap is soap is soap.  In fact I should probably go back to using baking soda (bicarbonate) for damn near everything.  I will always give generic a go.  I’ve developed a preference for various generics.  The best generic I’ve ever experienced is Kirkland brand by Costco.  That is seriously a case of running the generic label right after the expensive brand.  Churn out your shipment of Huggies, switch out the label maker and then make them Kirkland.  Same shit different tag.  I’ve even tried the Kirkland Champagne and found it not only drinkable, but enjoyable (forgive me Erin!). I’ve tried all the generic brands I could find in France including Eco+, Top Budget, Carrefour <wank> and Carrefour Discount.  Carrefour not only has a generic label, they split it up into classes of generics.  It goes from high-end generic to welfare generic.  America sort of did that with “white label.”  White label “BEER” was my all time favorite; of course I can’t seem to find a web image for the stuff.  The lowest you can go is Carrefour Discount.  That’s your welfare class generic.  Of all the generics I’ve tried, Carrefour Discount is as close as I’ve gotten to my beloved Kirkland.  It’s as low as you can go, yet still you can buy Carrefour Discount Roquefort as well as Carrefour Discount Bayonne Jambon Cru.  See, even cheap white label generic sounds great in France (viva la France!).

I can generic damn near everything, but I’ve somehow excluded shampoo.  I discovered Aveda before Estée Lauder messed it all up.  This is my I-liked-Nirvana-before-they-were-famous moment.  I hooked up with Sapmoss when it was a wee free sample.  The lather, the smell, the joy of washing my hair was beyond words.  I LOVED this shampoo.  I would gift it to people with sort of a “first one’s free” intention.  I never branched out to the other products in the Sapmoss line.  I stood by my shampoo and that was that.  Until, it was discontinued.  One of the hair ladies tipped me off to this atrocity.  In a crazed run on all Aveda stores, I managed to grab hold of three large bottles.  These babies go for near two hundred US dollars on ebay.  Knowing this was the end, I’ve not opened them.  I was waiting for the right moment.  Maybe squirt out a few beads on special occasions.  In the meantime, I’ve been running through French shampoo.  All of it okay, but nothing to blog about.  Then, I picked up some Carrefour Discount shampooing for the kids and gave it a go.  My hair loved it.  I’ve tried the olive oil one as well as almond.  I dug out the Sapmoss to try it side-by-side.  Carrefour Discount held its ground.  Now there’s no shampoo out there that will give you that Sapmoss smell, but for eighty-four cents a bottle you can get the same lather and the same bouncy loveliness in your hair.  I’m shocked and excited and somewhat embarrassed.

F’in Music

In my (almost) two years here in France, I’ve noticed a lot of music that is played at the various stores. What stands out to me is the frequent play of any song sung in English that have “fuck you” in the chorus. Lily Allen’s Fuck You and Cee Lo Green’s Fuck You song have been seriously overplayed. I can only imagine the radio DJs getting a huge giggle out of picking these songs. Also, i see a great opportunity to start a little side career when I’m not farming by creating pop songs with English swear words for the French pop market.

Doing It Rodin Style


Walking around Paris on my own with nowhere to be at any particular time enlightened me with unexpected imperturbability.  I moved out here to be in the country.  Two thousand five hundred scenic pieces of trees and sky.  Yet, I had no problems getting back to “go mode” in the city most people think of when you say you’re moving to France.   I spent about thirty minutes each evening by The Head, a large concrete head that is no doubt famous, which sits next to what was once thought by me to be Notre Dame.  It actually sits next to something that looks like Notre Dame like many other Notre Dame-like churches around Paris.  I realized later that Notre Dame itself is the Notre Damiest of them all.  I’m sure I’ll be enlightened as to its name in the imminent future.  By the church that isn’t Notre Dame, were two dudes playing jazz.  An upright bass player and a guitar man with an amp.  Those guys had a wonderful time playing or practicing their work while a gaggle of tired tourist sat in the park resting their feet as dusk falls.  The metro riders briskly walked past The Head to get to Châtelet, the metro stop with many options.  After listening to the jazzmen for a while, I’d pack up my book and pop on the iPod.  The musical selection of choice for walking around Paris is Philip Glass, Koyaanisqatsi.  It’s like living your own music video.  Nameless faces, in a rush to get somewhere important, couples giggling flirtatiously over drinks, traffic stopping and going and stopping and going.  An entire city there to entertain you as you walk from The Head to get a bite to eat.  After being in the country for six months where one can walk from home to park and see nothing more than an old mare and a barking dog, the city becomes more surreal than this city girl remembers.

But this isn’t what I really wanted to address.  What I saw in Paris was a lot of art.  A pain au chocolat cannot be thrown anywhere in Paris without hitting some art.  It’s everywhere.  No museum pass required.  I’m usually drawn to paintings over the rest, but after a visit to the garden at the Rodin museum (for a Euro!) I began to enjoy sculptures much more.  And that Rodin was pretty good at that stuff.  The curves, the positions, the sensuous movement emoting from a still object, the … hold on .. is that pigeon poop?  Was bird feces part of Rodin’s vision?  The guy works hard on this beautiful work and a bird poops on it.  And then it was everywhere.  No statue could be viewed by me without searching for the poop.  It became Where’s Waldo, the bird dung edition.   At last I found a statue untarnished by any foul movement.   Then, there it was, carrying on in the garden of Rodin as though no one could see them, but we could.  Sure not everyone acknowledged it.  Others may have looked passed it, but they were there, doing it and showed no compunction.   Naturally I took a photo, how could I not? Environmental players dancing on the art of yesteryear creating a momentary Farside Cartoon of today crossed my path and I had to shoot.