Friday, November 28, 2008

Bloggers Have a Voice

Thanksgiving was especially potent for me yesterday as I celebrated with new friends and my fiance here in Paris. I was thankful I was able to prepare some delicious side dishes from my mother's cookbook to share, but mostly thankful that God's given me this enviable life today. I say enviable because many people envy it. And while it is "God given," I worked hard for the life I have today. And when I say "worked hard," I worked hard on myself, on improving areas of my life that weren't working so well anymore and becoming a better person (to myself and to others). I have some projects I'm slowly commencing on, and I am able to let myself be "in process" and not feel rushed to be the first to market, so to speak.

I was also brutally aware of my gifts in life as I watched, on the various news channels, the horrible events unfolding in India. Grateful I was safe (for today) and not in a terrorist situation. And my heart going out to everyone - but everyone - involved.

What was also an amusing--and very revealing--statement to me was on CNN. Bloggers were criticizing security in India. This in itself is not shocking. The events and security issues could be shocking. What was so amazing to me was that CNN is giving credibility/a voice to bloggers and their opinions. Of course, this isn't shocking in today's times. I'll be the first to admit that bloggers have changed the world. When more people blog, and more voices are heard, global changes begin because it's a global consciousness being raised. Bloggers are doing that. What's amazing to me is the near-futuristic reality of it all.

When was it when we said, "one day bloggers will be an important voice in media today." When was it when we said, "bloggers opinions will be so important they are cast on mainstream, network television."

Well, that day has come.

And for that, I, too, am thankful.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

L'amour d'Obama

Even before the elections I knew, by practically every French person I spoke to, that the French love Obama. He was spoken about favorably by the media and spoken about frequently. What was even more amazing to witness was that these feelings were given an opportunity for expression, which the French normally do only reluctantly (other than at dinner parties and with close friends). As soon as I stepped out of my apartment, I saw two girls, one with OBAMA on her right cheek in black ink, scurrying down the sidewalk. On the metro, a wizzened old "hipster" wore an ObamaElection08 T-shirt and had pins on his jacket. People were reading the free "Metro" papers given out on the subway that had all the up-to-date analysis and numbers. Back at home, each channel (this morning too) was covering all the angles of the election. Most channels also showed coverage from around the world. People all around the world are jumping up, hootin' and hollerin' with joy at Obama's victory. Once again, I heard that "Obama is the President of the world" because for many, the man who is president of the United States carries power to affect the world. Everyone is caught up in the wave of enthusiasm and hope that Obama's message carries.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

The World Transfixed

The parties have started and most expat bars have their satellite TVs tuned to "France 24" or "CNN" as they host all-night election events. I'm home sick, unfortunately, but have our 50" flat-screen TV tuned to CNBC. Many in Paris consider this election for the "President of the World," as the President of the United States has so much influence and power on world events. It's fascinating to observe foreign attitudes towards "my country." I've never felt more patriotic till I moved abroad, no matter for how little time it might be.

Monday, November 03, 2008

Obama and Palin Dancing With The Stars

This is scary. And funny. Meanwhile, it is very interesting to observe how the French love Obama. There are 1/2 page ads/promotions that I saw in the Sunday paper, and the journalists love talking about him. There are at least four major Election Night parties (ranging from 10 to 160 euros) going on for Democrats and Republicans together. This could be dangerous normally but they're united by the fact that they're also American at the base. And there are parties for each party individually, not to mention that for each of these, Americans (and other expats), throughout the City of Light are hosting parties in their homes. Of course, unlike Election Night parties in the States, these all BEGIN at midnight and go on through the night till 6:00 am (yes, all of them). One will be serving Barack Obagels beginning at 3:00 am. The French/English TV news channel "France 24" is hosting a free party beginning at 7:00 am, also serving coffee.

Sunday, November 02, 2008


On LinkedIn at:
and my own personal network:


Sunday, September 21, 2008

Madonna was a bust

We saw the Madonna concert on 9/21/08 at the Stade de France and it was a bust. The best part about our seats was that they were in the section called the "Vomitoire." If that doesn't say it all, what does? I love it because "vomir" in french means "to throw," as in throw things from your seats (back in the coliseum days) when you didn't like the show.

I also like how the "no smoking" rule for Parisians seems to be voided just because they are sitting outdoors. Um, it's a tightly packed place with winds and non-smokers get whiffs of all that toxic tobacco just the same.

Reverbs with sound, and sitting so far away that even the video screens were smaller than Emmanuel's TV made the experience complete. I actually don't know if I saw Madonna. I saw a blond puff hopping around from about a football-field's lenght up and away!

Oh well. Viva la difference (between Bercy (where we saw Coldplay) and the Stade)!

Waiting for Madonna

Sunday morning, the 21st of September, I was strolling past the Hotel de Crillon after church (yes, I go to church) and I noticed a crowd. I found out they were all waiting for Madonna. Okay, why not? I'll see* her later that same night, but what the heck?! Pretty quickly I got bored so I decided to film the other "more interesting" people coming in and out of the Crillon. That made it much more interesting! ;) Et, voila!

*See: See the next post, where I was up in the Vomitoire and didn't really even "see" madonna.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

OpenID vs. ClaimID

Another question on my mind: what's the real value of using ClaimID? It seems like just another application I have to use to add to sites, log-ins, etc...

The beginning of the freeing of Courtney!

So I am finally getting in front of a computer, looking at "new" technology (some of which is old hat to all you cyber-savvy folks... and I know saying "cyber savvy" is old!)... What's the best way to display/show off photographic galleries on the web? Flock? I can't use Flickr out of loyalty to my friends at Fotki... working on getting the Courtney voice out there in as many new ways as I feel comfortable... so, as usual, "stay tuned."

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Summer Holidays

Welcome cyber-surfers!
Summer's lazy days are seen everywhere as people drop off like flies heading into their well-deserved vacations. I'm doing more personal reflecting and a change in direction of my writing and creative output. More on this soon, I hope.
Until the Fall,

Monday, April 28, 2008

No Dogs Allowed!

Contrary to popular opinion, dogs are not allowed everywhere in France. Dogs are not only not allowed in parks, but also any establishment that sells food (including restaurants). Health codes in restaurants don't bother me, but parks?! Come on! Furthermore, it wouldn't be so upsetting if I wasn't misled to believe that "the French love dogs" and "you can take them everywhere.

Nada Online

I haven't had internet or home phone service in about a week. And I won't have it perhaps until after May 5th. Welcome to the Digital Age in France! Oh my! It's really quite a shock, coming from digitally-equipped-to-the-rafters NYC and USA to find out that in France, well, technology (and the corresponding customer-service) are still a bit in the "Moyen Age." Even more amazing is to find out that the reason why my entire "arrondisement" (neighborhood) was without service for the weekend was because people are still stealing the copper wires inside the cables because the copper is worth more (than the need for connectivity apparently).

Cocktails With Courtney

Cocktails with Courtney on March 26th at Café Bennett was an illustrious event with a wide range of professionals in attendance. Jewelry designer Shauna Giesbrecht brought Career Transitions coach Kim Sumner. Pediatrician Andrea Andrea McCullough-Hlobik and her husband (ground-breaking) surgeon Kyle and their friend from Argentina stopped in for a prolonged stay and encouraged me to order dinner too! Journalist Amy Kraft stopped by before flying off to make New York City her new home. The next one is tomorrow so, once again, stay tuned for a quick recap!

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Cocktails With Courtney

Cocktails with Courtney

DATE: March 26th
PLACE: Bennett

InterNation-ally Yours

Last night was Paris's largest international Meetup. I didn't get to that one (next time!). I did, however, get to Paris's first InterNations, soiree on March 13th at Carr's Irish Pub. I met many interesting expats: Gary from Berkeley, who's been here 17 years; Melissa from New York, who's here 10 months and working for Nestle; and Andy Coyne, who I suspect you will hear much more about in the coming months. He's a major organizer of expat events here in Paris, and generates a big event each time. There were many other interesting artists and business-folks, some who'd come from the group Kunveno, which also holds artistic-type soirees. Here are two pictures from the InterNations blog, courtesy of Andy's friend James Kigin: one, two

Thoroughly Unintelligibly Interesting!

On March 8th Nina Andronikof invited me to a fascinating but utterly unintelligible speech on "Chahuts et canulars" presented by the amazing Michel Serres at the Theatre du Rond-Point. It was only unintelligible because my "francais" is not up to par for that kind of word-play and deep intellectual dialogue. I did manage to ask him, afterwards, (in French) if he had any books in translation. Okay... my French intellectualism is rising... Afterwards Nina, Saya Films Francois-Charles LeGoff, Emmanuel Joubeaud and I headed over to the swanky, historic brasserie Boeuf Sur Le Toit for an excellent dinner!


Hi Folks, well, I've been posting more on twitter with updates. Follow me on

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

french studies

is preparing an oral report on the bald eagle (en francais).

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Super Tuesday

So I got to have the unique experience of voting at the American Church in Paris today. A paper ballot. I don't know why I preferred (and trusted) this more than the online voting. I truly trust online voting more, but I think my curiosity of seeing the process live overtook my reasonable rational. I even got interviewed for the website Six 35.

Monday, February 04, 2008

TV Actor encounter

Today I met Xavier Deluc at the Saya Film offices. He's between shooting episodes of the popular TV show "Section de Recherches."

Saturday, February 02, 2008

la vie a Paris

You can imagine my surprise when sitting in le Café Deauville, a fellow American who's lived in Paris for 18 years told me, "they look like Westerners, they dress like Westerners, but just imagine cows walking on the streets. It's that different. It's Calcutta." But when I heard it for the second time by a different American, who'd also lived here for an equally long amount of time, I began to get worried.

"What?" What can they mean, "cows on the streets." "You may as well be in China. Or India. It's that different."

I guess I am ignorant enough to not know the differences yet, but in the month since I arrived in Paris myself, for what may turn into my own long-term stay, I have had my share of shocks. For instance, the banks are closed on Mondays. And the ATMs won't give you money on Friday afternoons, or after closing hours on certain days (I have to check this out, but just hearing it was unsettling enough). And there really is nothing open on Sundays. It reminded me of growing up in the 80s in Upstate New York.

It's true that New Yorkers are really spoiled. And I guess I lived in the glorious metropolis for such a long time that I became one of those New Yorkers who was so far "in," I couldn't see my own stereotype that I had become. Actually, I was fully aware of my stereotypical "gotta have it now," "me first," "outta my way," attitude. I guess I was enjoying it too much.

There are other differences that make me realize I really am in a Foreign country. Like tonight (Thursday, January 10, 2008). I haven't had home phone or internet access since Christmas for a few reasons I'd rather not get into. The only internet cafes I have found are the ones where you pay to use the PCs in the fluorescent-lighted stool-seating coop. Wifi cafes have been hard for me to come by, but then again, I haven't been entirely too adventurous. (There's only so much walking around, lugging a laptop, getting lost that I can put up with. Actually, to my earlier point, I won't put up with it at all.) It's taken 1 ½ weeks for our new cable-phone-internet service to be operating. So, my boyfriend graciously SMSd me where I could find two Starbucks that have Wifi. Personally, I'm not a Starbucks fan only because I always prefer the smaller mom-and-pop shops over large corporations. But I was desperate. In an act totally uncharacteristic of me, I packed my laptop into my purse and made my way to the Metro. Two stops later, several paces later I came upon my Starbucks--with chairs stacked up and two guys mopping the floor. It was nine o'clock p.m.

Well, I had not done much exploring in my first month (more on this later), so I figured, I'm out. I may as well look around. I walked toward the Bastille. Observing café's, men lingering, girls flocking together smoking cigarettes and scooters scurrying by like the rats they resemble. I ambled down one street a few blocks. I'd found a petite section of cafes, Chinese, Japanese and Indian restaurants, lounges and one tchotchke shop. I didn't need to venture further so I turned around and retraced my steps. Upon arriving at my home metro, which has been under construction for a while, the India-analogy came full circle for me.

As I walked up the stairs I heard loud crashing and scraping sounds. Upon arriving on the plateau before the escalator, there were about 12 men--all dark skinned blacks, probably from Mozambique--breaking up the charcoal grey concrete floor. And then the promptly put three of the concrete slabs on top of a foam cushion on their head and proceeded up the escalator maintaining complete balance the whole time. Outside on the curb was an industrial container.

the Tuna-fish
Coca-Cola and Diet Coke
Everything is served with a raw (or nearly raw) egg on it
Ham, turkey and chicken--depending on the store, restaurant and the quality

Everytime I turn on the 2nd burner on my stove, I blow a fuse for the whole apartment.
I have no oven.
I have no toaster-oven (toaster).
The bathroom needs a complete renovation.
There is mold on the walls in the bedroom.
There's no pooper-scooper law… My first week I stepped in dog poop twice!
Dogs are not allowed everywhere or in restaurants, unlike popular belief.