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Weekend Shenanigans: Paris by way of the Greek edition


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Fridays are almost always a hit or miss proposition. If Angels 3rd basemen prospects were a day of the week, they would be this day. Friday is the Brandon Wood of week days...so much promise in the early going. You get close to the witching hour and there's, well, nothing. That was me on Friday. Angel game viewing, turned off about the 7th inning so I could finish up the first season of 'Dexter,' lent to me by the homeboy who works the desk behind the gym. I get anxious if I borrow something and don't get it right back, so I did a three day marathon. Not a bad show, although there's alot of exposition and what I call 'savior cell calls' which writers have been increasingly lazy about in helping to move the story forward. The twists and coincidences were a little 'on the nose' as the saying goes, but I was still engaged enough to finish the entire season. The Damian Easely of tv shows.

Saturday, I went to the gym to continue my rehab regimine. My physical therapist has ok'd me using ten pound weights so I'm officially the old guy who goes to the gym while the youngsters and meatheads wonder why the old dude doesn't just hang it up instead of gritting through the 10 pounders. Well, f them...I did 40 minutes on the life cycle so they can put that in their tank top and smoke it.

My friend called me as I was walking out of the gym with a couple ideas: 1. Would I like to grab dr. Dave the dentist and meet up to see Sugar Ray at the Greek; and secondly, would I like to go to Paris on Sunday for a week or so, maybe staying long enough to see the Tour de France wrap up near the Arc d' Triumph.

I though a bit about sugar ray. Didn't think at all about Paris.

I scurried around finding a house and cat sitter for the week ahead. One great (the only great thing?) about my singular status is that I can pick up and go at a moment's notice. I always feel terrible, more terrible than any man should, about leaving my cat, but it's a huge part of my wife. I feel like I'm letting my wife down when I bail for more than five hours.

Dr. Dave was supposed to meet me at 5pm to drive up to our friend's to pre-party and get over to the Greek. Because he drinks way too much, he was late. He asked if I could pick him up since his wife didn't want him to drive. Of course. His wife is winding down - in a good way - her battle with breast cancer, so I try to accommodate however possible.

I'm driving over to Dr. Dave's house and I see him driving towards me...what the...? He swerved into a Circle k parking lot and I followed him in.

"Dude we're late! What are you doing ?"

"I know...I'm really thirsty (code for hungover/still drunk) so I need a soda for the road.". Judas h. Priest why do I volunteer to drive!?

Shockingly, we got nailed with traffic on the 405 but made it in time to my friend's where the good doctor could pound a few glasses of grape. A sorta friend of mine named Josh was there and I hadn't seen him in a couple years.

Josh is a complete character with stories that, if you heard them and didn't know josh, you'd think the dude was mentally ill.

This night, he didn't disappoint. "when I married Downey (as in robert Downey, jr.)," "when I made a guest appearance on '21 Jump Street,'" "when I was in the studio with Axl for the first album...". You know, the usual kind of chit chat. The thing is, it's all true. Back when DR was in his hard charging party days, I could get into any club thanks to my connection to Josh. If I was given grief at the door, I'd call Josh, and a few minutes later someone would come out and pull me in. I felt so cool giving the doorman the stink eye when I'd walk by him. Now, I can't imagine a worse night than pulling that crap and going to a club where you can't hear your eyes bleed.

Josh walks around with a cane that he doesn't really need. He's done it forever. Hugh Hephner has his robe, Josh has his cane. He grew up with Johnny Depp and they remain great friends. Terrific stories that I can't repeat here. It's through Depp that he got on 21 Jump Street. Said that Peter Delouise thought he shoulda got more chicks since he believed he was the better looking one and the real star of the show. Peter would later go on to date reality and marry her for eternity.

My friend got us a driver to take all of us to the Greek which was a great move since parking is meanness there on a Saturday. It was a better show than the previous staurday's Las Vegas show. It

was nearly sold out and the crowd was fired up.

Dr. Dave was sweaty and dying for a drink. Since he hates any and all music borne after 1989, he was not overjoyed with excitement. He came to get out of his house (drink) and to see our friend's in sugar ray.

We were sitting outside on a bench when this hammered, older broad who looked like a trailer park Barbra Streisand swayed in front of us for a bit than said to Dr. Dave, "are you bored."

"Yes," the doctor said, "because I saw Jethro Tull here last weekend."

I walked away laughing my arse off and I also didn't want to hear the rest of the conversation. Two salty dogs exchanging b.s. at the bar near closing time. No thanks.

Backstage at these shows are pretty funny. You get people who still think these bands are current and they get real dressed up and über excited. Then there's the others who've been around and just pass through, don't try to get in a band's dressing room and stay to the side.

Like last week, I went to the side of the stage to watch the Gin Blossoms perform one of my all time favs: "Found Out About You." Such a heartbreaking masterpiece. "All last summer in case you don't recall, I was yours and you were mine forget it all...". A bunch of other good lines in the song that probably remind all us of that chick in high school or college who we thought we had a thing going with but it turned out we over thought it and we were just another joker in the deck.

Sugar Ray came out and they really did kill it. I'm not just saying it because I know the clowns. Since it's only a 45 minute set, you know every song...they have more 'hits' than you realize and again, the dudes who made fun of them back in the day don't care anymore and go ahead and sing the words they've been singing all along. Only now they do it in public.

We jumped back in the car and thought about going to Josh's club Graystone Manor. I was hoping we would just drop him off because, frankly, I'm not impressed with whatever NBA a-hole is getting bottle service.

So yes, we dropped him off and I watched him run across La Cienega with his cane and fedora. Amazing site.

I drove Dave home and stayed up until about 2am watching the Angels latest defeat, fast forwarding with the hope that a run or two would appear in the scoreboard. Nope.

I like to stay up late if I'm taking a long flight the next day in the hope that I can get some shut eye on the plane. I don't sleep on planes. A real curse of my own chemistry.

Sunday, I confirmed with the cat sitter and felt so bad...I packed my bag while the cat was out lounging in the yard. I didn't want her to know that I was bailing. Daddy tip-toeing out the door in the middle of the night. I have a hunch she's figured it out by now.

I threw my bag in the car and came back in with the cat waiting for me at the door. Soul crusher. I gave her a pat on the head and a tuna treat. I told her I was visiting my wife, who absolutely loved Paris. She was such a romantic. In my expanding folder of regrets, I wish I woulda taken her to Paris and kissed her under some dimly lit bridge in the summertime. A postcard come to life. You just have to do that stuff now. Not someday.

I headed up to my friend's house where a car was waiting for us. The driver's been doing this for 13 years and my friend asked him for the crazy stories. He didn't want to divulge too much. But he did say that he sometimes gets positioned in Phoenix during spring training. About 2003, he had an Angel player he was driving for the night ("I can't remember his name...too long ago". Sure bud). The player said he wanted to use the car for the rest of the week, but couldn't pay at that moment. It was real late at night. The player literally wanted to just have the car outside his place the next day and on from there.

The driver said he'd need some collateral. The player didn't have any cash on hand for a substantial deposit but he whipped out his World Series ring. "How about this?"

"oh!" I said, "Spezio!". The driver didn't Think it was him....hmmmm.

I took Air France 65 to Paris which is the A380. I love this plane. It wasn't as pleasant as my last trip because it was filled with summer travelers - and I swear the dude next to me had nose breath. The kind where you put your hand up to your mouth to give the stink a block for a bit. He was a Frenchy. Not much English, but a nice dude. I wasn't optimistic when I saw he wore a thumb ring, but never judge...or, don't judge as often, anyways.

He got up to have a piss and he comes back to me and says, "would you like some water or somesing?" how kind is that? DR considers himself a fairly thoughtful person, but he wouldn't do that. That water was so f'ing good. I had kilt a bunch of twizzlers in an ambien fueled feeding frenzy, so the water came at a great time.

Upon landing, we headed straight for my friend's office which was a bit of a drag, but, what price Paris?

I tried to stay awake to ward off any jet lag during the week. Awful feeling to wake up at 11am or noon everyday while Paris passes you by. Unfortunately, despite a bunch of espressos and coke zeros, I dozed off pretty good in some plush office chairs. I was awoken by the entrance of Luc Besson who looked at me like I was an American. He's right on that account. Nice guy. Didn't have to bring up the whole WWII thing.

There's an eager and not unattractive young editor working in this movie. French. She's not beautiful, but she has this certain thing some french women have where you want to know more. They just put themselves together so well and have such a dignified awareness of their surroundings. You never know if they're checking you out of if that's the French woman way of simple presentation. No complexities, just delivery.

We finally got out of the office about 9pm. We drove into the center of Paris just before sunset and it was remarkable. But Paris is like that any time of the day. Most of the decorations from the previous day's Bastille Day celebrations were being taken down, but you could still see plenty of French flags waving in the dusk. So picturesque. It was almost as romantic as a dinner at Mimi's cafe, but alas, DR only had his memories.

I got to the apartment which is a stones throw from the church of St. Sulpice. You want some history, wiki that shit.

A few of us, including my friend's French acquaintance, went off to dinner at a little hidden cafe close to a park. There is such a serious cafe etiquette. You don't always ask the waiter for a table. You must wait until the Matre d or matron approaches you, and when she feels like it, she'll let you eat at her restaurant. If you don't like her attitude and bail, she is even happier to not have your business because she showed you that her place is so great she don't need your money. It's a great business model.

So we waited and got a nice table. One thing Americans hurt themselves with here is by being loud. It's all about subtlty. The French will give you better service if you bring it down a notch and greet them with a 'bonjour.'. Huge bonus points if you ask if they speak English, but ask in French: parles englis? However you spell it. I learned today that you don't need the 'vouz' part of the equation.

You follow those simple rules, they will only be half as abrupt. It's not rudeness. They just have an abruptness here because everything is clipped.

I ordered a steak with some wonderful chopped and roasted potatoes. As we ate, darkness set in and the lamps in the park slowly burned on. A warm and summery breeze came thru but not enough to kick the napkins away. It was perfect. Where was my wife, dammit?!

In the park, a group of 20 something's were playing a game called pétanque. It's kind of like bocci. It struck me how wild it is that these men and a couple women were having such a fantastic time playing such a simple game. It goes back to my premise of these shenanigans posts that we need to socialize. It makes us feel better. It's so important to have human to human contact. The real deal.

After dinner, we walked through St. Germain. It's a great area. Tiny streets, winding by cafes, bars, galleries and ancient churches. People want life like this in some parts of the States but we don't want the lack of rules that affords this type of living. I don't think it's a very good trade, frankly. But we are not as pluralistic and we also have too many giant cars and trucks so the soccer moms and river rats would not conceive how a family of five gets around these street with a baby carriage and a 2003 two door VW. Although I've seen quite a few Prius's here.

I came back to the apartment last night at great peace. Partly tired, but also calm because I could feel my wife's presence. She would've loved dinner at that cafe. My friend went to bed, but I dimmed the lights and lit a candle. I've lit a candle for her every night since she's passed. I opened the doors to the outside and let the breeze in. And then I put on Radio Nova which i really got into last time I was here. It's soulful background music. You can stream it on the internets, but that version always seems to have more chit chat.

I went to bed after a while and fell right to sleep. As they say here, "a Paris."

I'm going to a park nearby today by myself. Gonna pick up a baguette, some cheese, maybe a bit of ham. I'll take my biography of The Smiths and a map and put the world on hold.

Ps: if anyone has any tips as to how I post pics on a first gen iPad, holla'.

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Solid DR.

Just for fun, you should write one shenanigans in jose mota speak

Greats idea today for the first time here in this day today. I will make effort every to answer in a practice time run in reply to this one post at this time before going all the way with the winds and Paris altitude.

But first, of course, it is that I would like to thank the Angel lady gal Katie, yes, the fan Katie to post the pictures of photos from the trip shenanigans. Thank you to you.

And to answer the Brandon -- and in this sense I am not speaking of the Wood primarily known to angels fans from a few years ago -- but to answer the anyelswin and dotcom on board of this day Brandons, it is hard to gauge the feelings exactly of the Paris people's opinion of Americans because you don't know if they answer when they do if it will be how it is up to them to feel. But it is safe to say, but not of course at Safeco, that the French hate everyone. Or not. It is an individual basis perhaps to decide.

But the power alleys is 385.

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My parents are in Paris right now.

I think I just saw them at the Starbucks on Rue St. Germain.

I just did a mild jog in the Luxembourg Park with my friend. Didn't last long because I'm more a Life cyclist. It's a remarkable park...well maintained gardens and little pools for the kids to splash (French shower?) in. The French senate is situated on a border of the park. Old building that I imagine was visited by Ben Franklin back in the day.

There were quite a few joggers and a couple good looking French women getting their fitness on.

Afterwards, we went to a cheese shop where the really nice chick behind the counter told us she didn't speak English and then we proceeded to have a conversation about cheese in English. She had very nice hair style which I wanted to compliment her on but figured it would translate as "hi, I'm a creepy and too forthcoming American just like you see in the movies.". So I bit my tongue.

We retired to a bistro where we done ate ham and cheese omelettes and cafe latte. The Starbucks is a few doors down so we had an intermittent parade of large bellied Americans rolling by with their giant cups of java. One of the cups said "Chris." I thought about messing with him and yelling out his name but I didn't want to be too americanski in the bistro.

The French men have an updated Sonny Crockett look going on these days: linen blazers, espadrilles, light colored t-shirts, stubble. Ray Bans or Persols. Cool as all get out. I mean it. They make it look cool to not shower. I'm in!

It's loud as hell outside. Th street we're on has the impossible balance of tourists and Parisians, so there's a parade of elivery trucks cockblocking the street as they drop off the days supply of water, vino and other essentials of Parisian cafe life. The horns blare and I hear some yelling in French every few minutes. I imagine it's normal if you live here, but crickey, I couldn't get used to it any time soon.

It's 12:15 in the afternoon here. Not sure where the day is going to take me but it will probably include the taking down of a pan au chocolate. I shall bring violence upon my diet.

I purchased a fan yesterday for the apartment. A floor fan for 50 Euros. 50 reasons why I love my country and Target.

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