Monday, August 25, 2008

Last happiness

There is a big debate about Happiness. Some think you’re happy because you achieved a life full of nice things and/or happy events. Some think happiness depends of the way of seeing things : the story of the bottle half empty, half full.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Friday, August 22, 2008

Châteaux against Clos

Châteaux against Clos, aristocrates against Wine grower, Protestant rigour against catholic spirit … set those two prestigious French wine regions. It’s a nice scene of the Babette’s dinner, the « fairytale » of Karen Blixen. In the XIXth Century, a catholic cooker, escaping from Versailles, becomes a maid at two bishop’s daughters, in a Norvegian port. She won the lottery and prepares a french dinner for the sad lutherian community which is around the two sisters. And when an old man delivers the food arrived from France by boat, one of her takes a bottle and scared, asks : “What’s inside of this, Babette ? This isn’t wine, I hope ?” Babette answers with a smile : “wine, Madame, oh, no ! It’s a clos-vougeot 1846 ». Served on Cailles on sarcophage, it will make happy the assembly of crows, assembled at the table. The dinner frees deep down passions and erases long lived hatred. The Bourgogne at work. Is Bourgogne wine (Burgundy in English) a catholic wine ? Bordeaux a protestant one ? this idea was developed some years ago. Though the polemic is created, this published article received cold welcome in the world of owners of Bordeaux wine. It is a bit of a shame because the idea is nevertheless interesting. When you look back at History and images, you can’t help yourself noticing that the opposition exists. The two most prestigious french wine regions. Tiped over wines when they are very well made, on nourishing earth. Incomparable wine, we say. Those two long ignored themselves. Not the same customers, not the same markets. Not the same to name it. The generic name of a city for one, of a region for the other. Maybe because the harbour of Bordeaux played an important role in the development of this wine region, opening the access to British islands. Deep down in the centre of the country, Bourgogne used roads and rivers to conquer the North, Paris, Popes in Avignon, then Rome. Long time far beyond Bordeaux, Bourgogne has a lot to thank to bishops who revealed the soil. At the XIIth century, Benedictines explore the soil, look at the ones producing the best wine. It’s a big decision because transport costs so much by road at those times that they have to try to sell the same quantity but more at a more expensive price, so to say : to produce quality. Progressively, bishops close parcels more qualitative than others. They build a hierarchy of the soil, draw a real mosaic that they limit with stones. A true puzzle. Today again, you still notice it by the hundreds of names. That is specifically a concept of Bourgogne which designs the soil it belongs to, its declivity, its exposure to sun and wind. Anything that signs a wine, makes it different from the aside parcel. Bishops made of a region, a religion. In 1395, Philippe le Hardi, duke of Burgundy, wants a unique vine plant. That will make a big distinction between Bourgogne and Bordeaux which can received 5 different vine plants, that allows to adapt to different weather changes. The duke wants Gamay to be uprooted for the profit of the Pinot noir (personally I like Gamay too !). But it was to please better the pope, the king and some other lords with the best and precious wines of the kingdom. The duke was well inspired. Pinot is a wonderful vine plant. Ultra sensitive to the climate and soil, it hates the yield and approximative cutting. But it can produce the best wine when it’s not loosing its substance nor soul with dilution. Experts say there is a real aromatic purity, extremely good wines when all conditions are there. Taking profit of the commercial net of the cistercians, Bourgogne is being sold in north of Europe, Paris and its region, at court, where its first rival is not yet Bordeaux but Champagne, which produces a light red wine, fruty, equaly made with Pinot noir. Bourgogne makes drink as well popes and cardinals and during wars of religion, vine growers know which side to stay. At this time, Bordeaux is not well known. The benefit of its growth came from Aliénor d’Aquitaine. Separated from Louis VII, the beautiful Aliénor married the king-to-be Henri II of England. And Bordeaux exploded. Thanks to their fidelity to the Anglois, they obtained that the wine of the hinterland, where Gaillac and Cahors made an intrusion, do not have an access to the harbour of Bordeaux before November 11th. It allows the Bordeaux to ship their production to the british islands and north of Europe. The grape vines, mostly on the hill of Saint-Emilion, cover up the Graves, poor earth of the region, at the south of Bordeaux. Then the ones of Medoc, at the north. The privilege will stay until the Revolution. More than 500 years, so Bordeaux made a fortune and invest on the land. The aristocrats buy land, assemble them in big domains, relude to actual properties. This makes today again this strong contrast with Bourgogne : on one side, a patchwork of tiny parcels, on the other side seas of vineyards. For example, the Romanée-Conti, most important cru vintage of Bourgogne is 1,85 hectare and is selling 6000 bottles a year. Château Margaux exceeds 85 hectares, Lafite the 100 hectares. Each is selling at least 200 000 bottles of its best wine. So Bordeaux makes drink the protestant land of England, Holland and Flanders. It helps modeling its wine. England loves the strict Cabernet-Sauvignon. From the XVIIth century, dealers and brokers establish themselves in Bordeaux to ease the exchanges : Holland, Flanders, then England. The newcomers, ancestors of the actual houses, are a strong community in Bordeaux. They buy domains from the old aristocracy. Transactions are numbered compared to Bourgogne, where the link with earth is not so aristocratic, more peasant. Vineyards start to be sold to bankers, then industrials, insurance companies when Bourgogne stays property of families. Tendency seems to change a bit though marginal. When a property is ready to be sold, families who are financialy strong, know the fact very quickly and react, buying it. So the wine stays burgundian. On the atlantic coast, dealers bet on the taste of the wine. They adapt it to the taste of their foreign customers, imposing long cuvage, in order to obtain more concentrated wine, adapted to travel. The regular frequency of England gave maybe to Bordeaux a less demonstrative taste. Dark and strong wine, when Pinot noir offers an open and sensual wine. Nose wine against mouth wine. Light wine against well-built wine. The uses reinforce those representations. The traditional glass of Bourgogne is round. The Bordeaux one is straight like a tulip, narrowed at the edge. The bottle is temperate and easy to stack. The Bourgogne one is big-bellied, sometimes with a thicker edge for the Grand Crus. One could represent a bishop. The other one a paunchy capuchin. Same opposition with the service. Bordeaux cultivates the aristocratic art of decantation at the candle. Some see in this act a transposition of a spirit of purity to God : we clarify the wine, we make it transparent. Bourgogne, for its side, is not afraid to put the bottle on the table, if possible with the protective dust. Same divergences with the calories with the meal. Butter against duck fat. Sauced meat against roast meat. But sometimes roles are reversed. Around Bordeaux, the new castles are very bright, very flashy when some of the properties of Côtes-de-Nuits inherit the austerity of cistercian bishops. Pinot noir can have a bad teenage time, closed. Its most refined crus are not accessible to beginners. So all this is not that simple ? Let’s go back in the wine-cellar and taste again to go deeply into the question. I heard it through the grapevine

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Friday, August 15, 2008

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Lesson Nr. 12

Is happiness only a chemical reaction in the brain ?
in François lelord's "Hector's journey"

Gone

Gone but not forgotten is a nice movie. Not a super production but something enjoyable. Meaning It shows what could happen to any of us and the start of a new life. It was made in 2003, so not that new. It's great to see such an endearing movie that doesn't rely on the usual gay storylines of AIDS, coming out, or campy drag queens. Wearing it's heart on its sleave, Gone but not forgotten is a charming, adult, romantic love story with a touch of mystery from writer, director, producer, and editor Michael D. Akers. This guy does it all and on a shoestring budget! But with an intriguing story and a fine cast it's first class all the way! Shot on digital video, which does give it a home video feel to it and takes some getting used to, but once you settle in, it's an enjoyable trek. Shot in and around Yosemite National Park the story revolves around an openly gay forest ranger named Drew (Aaron Orr) who's rescued a young man, Mark (Matthew Montgomery), from an accident that leaves him with amnesia in a smalltown hospital. Drew takes him `under his wing', they develop a friendship, and ultimately a relationship. But as the story unfolds and Mark begins to remember his past, through a series of flashbacks to what led up to his accident, he begins to question who he is and where he is headed. Is he gay or straight? Will he stay with Drew or go back to his previous life, whatever that may be? Mark's not the only one with secrets but Drew holds some of his own as well regarding his past and his relationship with his brother. They're all revealed as the story continues and ultimately come together in a satisfying ending. There are some moments that seemed a bit over-the-top and somewhat unbelievable, but as a first time effort Michael Akers has done a fine job with his ensemble cast. But it's the male leads that drew me in and found their relationship sweet and charming. The questions the story posed were also intriguing with regards to amnesia, sexual orientation and past memories. Intriguing. It's not without its flaws but overall I really enjoyed this independent film. Grab a big bowl of popcorn, settle back on your couch and enjoy!

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Story of my life

And I've done it again . I meet a guy in the street. Simply as that. It's friday evening, I'm coming back home under heavy rain, on the bike, waiting at the red light to change into green and then I cross his eyes. A look, a second, a smile, I put the bike aside and start to talk to him. He's american, prefers to talk english with me, notices I'm not German, living here for the summer, nice looking, taking off his cap, where do I live, He's waiting for a date, I didn't ask for anything and then ... : what's my profile on internet. What's wrong with the picture ? Am I living in the 5th dimension ?

Yellow lounge

I talked about Yellow Lounge once before. It's a try to bring classical music in unusual places and mix the music with modern sounds, all live. Next show is Monday. Have a try.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Strandkorb

Since the opening of the frontier, the island of Usedom on the Baltic sea opposed German naturists and conservative Polish. It’s the first summer that people on holiday on the island of Usedom see no wall in the middle of the beach. On this island, the frontier between Germany and Poland was erected in the sand, between two beach towels, until last December. On Christmas Eve, when the Schengen agreements were applicable in Poland, the barrier fell and suddenly, both population were face to face. The possibility of a dream came true … but German and Polish are not the ones to build sand castles together. The very catholic Polish – at least 8 religious for 10 inhabitants – do not appreciate the taste of their German neighbours for naturism (FKK : Frei Körper Kultur, culture of living naked, or culture of free body). It is allowed on this side of the beach and punished by law on the Polish side. Between German and Polish, all layed in their Strandkorb (those famous canvas chairs, protecting from the wind), It’s not yet war but already cultural choc. “here, in the east of Germany, It’s a tradition that survived to the fall of the wall. It’s not as intensive as by the time of DDR when communist regime was very favorable to it, but we kept our beaches” says local touristic manager. On the Polish side, nudity is still taboo. “there are too many people naked on the beach since the opening of the frontier”, complains a Polish woman. She took her towel far away enough from the old frontier, not to be disturbed by the view of naked bodies. For Polish, “It is unusual, on the contrary of our traditions” confirms a father, who refuses to bring his children on the German side, afraid of naked exposure. Locals of political party try to bring the subject public. Like “right and justice”, they want the town council to prevent people by putting some big format adds on the beach. No need to mention that this party is conservative and nationalist, near the Polish president, who says naturist practice is condemned sin by catholic church (find me the text, please). But this party has no majority yet and the mayor, social-democrat, does everything he can to calm down the debate but knows he’s loosing votes because his population is very attached to catholic values. “I respect personally all kind of opinions, but I can’t imagine that a small group of elected people, impose to us their position. If we have the possibility to be naked on one of the beach of the island, and the majority approves it, so I wish this stays allowed. And after all, if I was on vacation with my family in Mallorca or Canary islands, I’d probably try naturism as well”. So councils started between German and Polish. One side try to inform better on the FKK beaches (afraid of loosing german tourists) and also make efforts to make known better the polish way of life. Naked in his wood corb but 200 meters from the German frontier, this man on holiday is warning his surprised fellows by putting some red and white wood sticks in the sand (the colours of the polish flag). “If you carry on walking naked in this direction, you expose yourself of a fee of more than 1500,- euros, it’s completely forbidden. "For us, It’s completely normal, to be naked” says this woman who grew up in east Germany, “and I have little comprehension for those who easily critic naturism, especially when they implicate catholic church. It’s naked that God put us on earth and I do not understand why they are so stucked”. A few hundred meters away of the naked German, the polish mayor wears suit and tie. His leather shoes in the sand, he explains that the opening of the frontier allows to satisfy every tastes of the tourists of the island :”on the German side, they have access to this naturist beach. On the polish side, visitors have a beach dedicated to the dogs. So, in the end, on both sides, we tolerate hairy animals”.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Instantanés

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Lesson Nr. 11

Happiness is to feel ourselves completely alive
in François lelord's "Hector's journey"

Instantanés

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Addicted

People who take drugs always tell you not to take any but can't help themselves to take some all the time. It depends what is your concept of drugs, of course. You would surely say, because I smoke and drink alcohol, I'm a drug addict too. We can talk about it. But last saturday evening, I became very upset in the disco we were having fun, because I've been asked so many times if I had any pills to sell that It made me at a point furious. I asked the last one to go downstairs and have a blow job for which he will get (hopefully) more pleasure. The thing is, talking about it, because after a while we had too, people are getting "high" very quickly but need more all the time because they are afraid of getting "down". They need to spend a big amount of money and that explains why they target some people who can afford them freely what they need. It is so scary to watch them hunting the pills. That's when I left, having enough because my mood was really "down". Before leaving completely, I noticed a guy I would never thought seeing there. It's a famous TV showman I used to watch the program on TV, when I had one. It feels always strange to meet a public person in reality. They belong to the screen and not to your footsteps. It's always surprising because, unless you're part of this world, you just don't know how to manage your reaction : watching the guy (because he is also very good looking), but will it take as a showman or a man with flesh and bones, ignore him (but you can't help yourself looking around his pace), trying to play it cool and miss the thing ? Until I decided, he was far away. So I did.

Friday, August 8, 2008

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Coloured bedspread

Bright lights are going dim
I wanna hide again
The nights are caving in
On my Bright lights are going dim
I wanna hide again
The nights are caving in
I wanna drift so far
To slip out of the crowd
It doesn’t matter how
We’ll make the stars dissolve
Like sugar melting in my mouth
Some people come and go
But the won’t ever know
About the things we do
I remember places I’ve been to
Remember things I never knew
Remember dreams that all came true
We’ll make the stars collide
I touch the planets through your eyes
Ooh can you feel it
Tell me can you feel it
We’ll make the stars dissolve
Like sugar melting in my mouth
Beneath my Coloured bedspread
I wanna drift so far
To slip out of the crowd
It doesn’t matter how
We’ll make the stars dissolve
Like sugar melting in my mouth
Some people come and go
But the won’t ever know
About the things we do
I remember places I’ve been to
Remember things I never knew
Remember dreams that all came true
We’ll make the stars collide
I touch the planets through your eyes
Ooh can you feel it
Tell me can you feel it
We’ll make the stars dissolve
Like sugar melting in my mouth
Beneath my Coloured bedspread

Sextoy

A sextoy for us, Men ? one that makes us cum, only us, at one place that women envy us ? yes It does exist. Cybernetical sculpture, the Aneros is so efficient, despite its price, that men do not hesitate. Though you can find many copies of it, men buy the original. Until now existed only for the anal pleasure, the dildo (sometimes belt-dildo), unisex, meaning realistic copies of erected penis. Straight men felt humiliated to introduce in their intimacy this ersatz of phallus to reach pleasure. Even gay men were not fully satisfied with those dildos, unable to find the way to their prostate. Aneros had the effect of a revolution. It’s a 3 arms plug, conceived to stimulate the male G point and giving – figures seem to prove it – very interesting orgasms. The first arm allows you to orientate and to drive the tool. The second one (the biggest one) is the seeking head of the machine, a guided missile. The third one, curved like a finger, is equiped with ball-bearing and brings a light pressure on the perineum. The aneros is made to mass yourself and imposible to realize another way, says a user. It stimulates the 3 erogenous zones by creating a feedback circuit : each spasm of the sphincter brings a movement of rolling that repercute itself at the base of the testicules (perineum) and inside the body (prostate). These 3 erogenous zones are most of the time unexploited, ashamed, abandoned. Though they can provide an underestimated pleasure, richer and varied than a simple genital masturbation. The aneros is probably the first sextoy specifically made to abolish centuries of ignorance with the male pleasure. For those that the price of the aneros is too expensive, (72 euros for the basic product), It exists unumbered copies at small price. Nexus for example, is sold 59 euros et is advantaged by Its black colour (much more elegant). There is a vibrating Nexus (125 euros with 5 different modes). There is still the hand massage, but you will need help (or you are very lissom).

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Instantanés

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The enigma of the Molene’s cadavers

part two : Ta plage beach boy
Cholera epidemics are now far. A wreck ? “40 years ago, people who lived on the island would have declare the corps, they were used to it.” And most of all “we would have heard about it”. Say people of Quéménès. In the archipelago of Molène, everything goes fast. In winter, there is only a hundred people living there. Years ago, the island was inhabited. The Tassin’s family was there. An original family who decided to leave the continent and establish themselves on the island, like hermits. They started to rent in 1953 until they bought in 1960. They occupied it until 1973, remembers the daughter of the family. Her father is no more and her mother, aged 75, is nervous. “The investigation is suspicious but I trust my parents. We are a well-known family here. It must have had happened during the night, and my parents could not notice anything. Four bodies. Nobody move them so easily. You need to be at least two people. And they knew it well because everywhere is heavy earth and stones. Except here, It’s kind of sand dune. They must have known well the islands around.” Furthermore, the location is invisible from the continent, hidden by the Molène island. In the end of the 50’s, a not very far island from Quéménès, Trielen, was used as an educational centre. A bad memory, hardly told. “Private boarding schools for young people, minors or not, in need of physical and moral reeducation” says historian of the land. In reality a real convict prison hold by a priest of Saint-Brieuc, today deceased. Not really prepared to live on those islands, the young were quickly out of food. Some would have try to escape. Starved, they would have been rescued by the people of Molène who called authorities. The priest was judged in 1959 but released. It is said that nobody wanted to hear this story again. French minister of Justice was there on the island and said that investigation is open. There are no elements anymore but they will find ways to trace the cause of death and dating it. Police did not make any link with disappeared people from the neighbourhood. On the island of Quéménès, the wind and the sea already erased all traces of the discovery.

Kiki Blofeld

Kiki Blofeld is another place in the centre of the city, on the river Spree. It's just in front of Bar25 on the other side. I was watching it since a long time and because the weather begins to decline (It's raining cats and dogs a lot this days) we decided to meet up with friends there. Looking at the map on the website I was expecting something bigger (It's big enough !) but It's not a forest. Many places to spend a good night from secrecy in the woods, chill out feet in the sand drinking your mojito or playing the party freak in the boat house. That's the surprise in this place. The boat house used to be a shelter for patrol boats of the East German Army. It now looks like a setting from a Bond movie. For a grand entrance you can show up with a flash boat and drive right into the club. Because of the sound of the water, the music has to be loud, so after minutes you just feel like dancing and not chatting anymore. But you still can head up to the the roof terrace and enjoy the starlight ... when It's nice weather. Actually we were quite miserable : It started to rain, we were trying to get protection from the bar, feet in the mud. In the end, we said goodbye, laughing and wet. I took back the bike, got my x flat tyre, walked home ... sounds familiar ?

Friday, August 1, 2008

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The enigma of the Molene’s cadavers

Part one : Caché derrière
This story could have inspired Arthur Conan Doyle. An almost deserted island with violent sea streams and mortal reefs, 4 skeletons buried under the sand, of which we ignore the origin, a private boarding school handled by a priest and closed for bad treatments, a local population with a hard life and incredible stories to tell. A mystery. The story starts in March. A storm of a rare violence is on the costs of Brittany. In the archipelago of Molène, the water is infiltrated everywhere, enters homes, root up rock blocks of many tons, threaten the boats. "The storm", reports secretary of the townhouse, "It's been 20 to 30 years that It wasn’t that strong". On one of the islands of the neighbourhood, Quémérès, the sand dune is going back, devoured by waves, and humans rests are discovered. This island, one kilometer and a half long, was time to time inhabited. Some fields protected from the salted wind with stonewalls, seaweeds to produce saltwort and nourish the stoned soil, allowed families to survive on this rock. Since 2003, this land belongs to the conservatory for the littoral. A couple is renting the place, sowing bio products and runs a bed&breakfast (full booked until 2009) for city guys who want to play the Robinson Crusoe.“It’s me who found them. South east of the island. A human skull and a pelvis. I called the police”, says the guy living there. Nothing exceptional for the region. “We found a lot of bodies in Molène” remembers a previous inhabitant. “When there was cholera epidemics, in the end of the XIXth century, we buried the cadavers”. Besides, the wreck is common around here. « It’s violent, here » says the son. If you go to the local cemetery, It confirms, people saying those words, are right. But this is not it. Exhumed, sent for dating to the criminal research institute of the national police, the results, back in public last Thursday, deny all suppositions. The cadavers were there buried 37 years ago, with a mistake possibility of more or less 5 years. Between 1966 and 1976. There is also prescription. Three men, one woman. Young, between 20 and 25 years old. Buried under one meter of sand. No trace of apparent violence. No clothes fibers (they were naked). Faces facing the sea, legs crossed.

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The game

Women look at me when I'm looking men who are looking at...
It's a never ending story.
It's Friday evening.