lundi 29 octobre 2007


I made it to rainy Copenhagen, where I have spent the day gazing at objects of Danish modern design. Those clean lines, those blond woods, it is all just so very agreeable to the eye, isn't it?

Today I went to the Danish design museum and checked out the current exhibition, which featured a bunch of crazily designed lamps. Katherine may be interested to hear that one of the items in their permanent collection was playmobil guys, which apparently were designed by some Danish guy in 1974. I think the Danes can also claim credit for the invention of legos. You have to give them points for that.

Speaking of Danish design, here is a pic of the Danish krone, a particularly fanciful seeming currancy. What can you say about bright orange bills with serpants on them? It just doesn't feel like real cash is being spent. Plus the conversion, which is around 7.5 kroner to the euro, is not one that my brain whips through instantaneously. Hello, why aren't they just using euros anyway? Why can't they get with the program?

Tomorrow I may head up to Helsingør castle, better known in English as Elsinore, the castle in Hamlet. There is something rotten in the state of Denmark, and I intend to see it!


If Philly has a citywide saying, it must be, "You gotta be kidding me." Not only did I hear Michelle say it multiple times-- or her version, "Are you kidding me??" --I then heard 3 other people saying it as well, when I was at the Philly airport and our pilot announced the plane couldn´t take off yet and that we had to sit on the tarmac for an hour, due to some nonessential thing that needed fixing.

Michelle seems good and it was great to see her this weekend. I must admit that she and I could not have a less eventful visit. I was so jet lagged that every night I fell asleep earlier than her 3 year old, Owen. Our one big night out, we got all dressed up to head to a surprise party for her friend at the Mummer's Museum, and we got there and she looked around and realized she knew no one there. It turned out she got the night wrong. But, we had a good laugh about it and went out for milkshakes instead.

We also took Owen to the Please Touch museum. I'll post those pictures later.

dimanche 28 octobre 2007

Clara Jane

Congratulations Karin and Sean!

Sean Pue wrote:
> Dear all,
> We are pleased to introduce:
> Clara Jane Pue
> 11:21 p.m. 10/26/07
> 7 pounds 15 ounces
> 21 1/4" inches
> Mother and baby are happy and healthy.

mardi 23 octobre 2007

Busy, busy

I've been swamped with work in the last week, plus fighting off the nasty cold that everyone in my office has, so it has been an uneventful few days.

I'm heading out in the morning for a whirlwind 4 cities in 12 days trip. Tomorrow night I'll be staying in DC; then I'm heading to Philly, where I will be chez Michelle and Owen in Fishtown, and then on Sunday I'm off to Copenhagen, staying at this place; then on to Berlin on Wednesday to visit Mark, where I get to stay at the chi-chi estate owned by the American Academy. I will have a whole apartment to myself there, thanks to the generosity of one of the other fellows who offered it to Mark.

After all these transatlantic flights I'm happy to have invested in one of those little neck pillows. It is the best thing since sliced whatever. I have also started bringing earplugs and snatching several of the tiny blankets they pass around in order to create a cocoon-like space in my tiny, cramped coach seats. Other people tell me they swear by Ambien or Tylenol PM, which isn't a bad idea either, but I haven't tried that yet.

dimanche 21 octobre 2007

Une petite plante

I got this little plant at the market today. Does anyone know what it is?

mercredi 17 octobre 2007

Sarkozy ♥ immigrants

Sarkozy has recently proposed a bill that would call for DNA testing of immigrants (at their own expense) who want to emigrate to France to join family members. Testing would not be compulsory but would be "suggested" for individuals whose birth records or marriage records are not "clearly genuine". The implication is that those who refuse testing might be more likely to have their cases denied.

As a matter of fact, this kind of law is not uncommon in Europe. The UK is among several countries that have passed this type of legislation. Kinda shocking, isn't it?

Currently France has strict controls on DNA testing. Testing is only allowed for genetic or medical research, or when approved by a judge. So the double standard expected from immigrants seems particularly unfair.

The civil rights concerns are pretty obvious. Plus, after having sat through some genetic epi seminars lately, one thing that crossed my mind about all this-- which regularly comes up in genetic studies-- is what's known in the epi biz as paternity problems. These tests could be quite a nasty surprise for some people.

lundi 15 octobre 2007

Randonnée et pique-nique en Beaujolais

On Sunday I went with for a hike and pique-nique in the Beaujolais. We first went to the town of Oignt and then hiked over to Thiezé -- for the non-French speakers, we went from O-WAH to TAY-ZAY, bien sur. The day started cool and brumeux (foggy) but later the fog burned off and il faisait très beau. I have been to Oignt before; it is known for having buildings of golden stone, a.k.a les pierres dorées.

From Oignt, le brouillard.
Here I am with Farhad, his son Farzad, and Farideh.
Along the route. The vines are turning their fall colors.

These little stone houses are for the people who watch the sheep.
The castle we toured was the Chateau de Rochebonne, which was originally built in the 11th century; then destroyed in the 100 years war, and rebuilt between the 14th and 17th centuries. The site was a strategic one because it has a view east over the Rhone all the way to the Alps, and the land east of the river was not then part of France, but rather, part of the duchy of Savoy-- gotta keep an eye out for those Italians. Of course, we couldn't admire the view, due to the fog. Quel dommage!

These days the castle is owned by the town, which they seem to open for the random tour group and naturally for tastings of beaujolais nouveau. We were reminded several times to make room on our schedules for the arrival of the beaujolais nouveau, which va arrivé in a month. Before touring the castle we sat down for our pique-nique on the castle grounds.
The faded paint job in the castle.
In the town of Thiezé.
Here is Shu-Chun, squinting into the sun. It was a relaxing and beautiful day.

jeudi 11 octobre 2007


Earlier this week I went over to Eric's apartment and played Wii bowling, golf, and tennis. It was way, way, way too much fun. I'm sorry to say that I got my best bowling score ever in Wii bowling: 201. I suspect the computer is a little forgiving. This little video shows what the bowling game is like.

I'm afraid it was totally addictive and, not only that, I was really breaking a sweat playing the tennis game.

Who needs real bowling???


Recently I got a surprising email...

"We have received your application for a faculty position (rank to be determined by qualifications and experience) in the Department of Health Studies.
Federal regulations require the University of Chicago to request sex and race/ethnicity information from all job applicants. We request that you voluntarily provide us with your name, sex, and race/ethnicity by creating and saving an academic profile online at
Whether or not you choose to provide us with this information will have no bearing on the handling or consideration of your application.
If you have questions concerning our Equal Employment Opportunity policy or its application, contact Employment Services at 773-702-8903 or Aneesah Ali, Associate Provost and Affirmative Action Officer at 773-702-5671.
Thank you for your interest in the University of Chicago."

This email is particularly surprising given that I have never applied for any job, ever, at the U of Chicago. However, I did once walk around the grounds for half an hour.

My suspicion is that my Columbia advisor Habib, who took a job there a year ago. is responsible. I did send him my CV recently. Oh well. I guess it would be nice if they flew me there for an interview. I could visit Karin and Sean!

mardi 9 octobre 2007


I guess some people are getting a little tired of the coupe du monde.

dimanche 7 octobre 2007


I finally got paid for September. Alors...

Here were some treats from the market this week.

Les figues et un saucisson:
Les girolles
Muscat grapes
et trois avocats.

jeudi 4 octobre 2007

Even more online time

This week Janine convinced me to sign up for facebook so that I could eyeball the profile of her ex-boyfriend. But then I couldn't even see it anyway because you have to be someone's "friend" to see their profile. So silly! You can see the random profiles of strangers, but not those of friends of friends.

I suppose these online networking are really for 18-year olds who want to hear about the next rally down at the student union. Which I guess makes me a late adopter. However, there I was surfing through the UNC alumni network, and I learned that one of my ex-boyfriends is now an assistant professor at the U of Georgia. Strange but true.

mardi 2 octobre 2007

More trips

Looks like I'll be heading back to the US for the third time in 3 months, this time for meetings at NCI on the 25th, in DC. Or rather, Bethesda. Is Bethesda a total suburban experience? At least it is on the metro.

This week will be quiet for me, both because I'm participating in the all-consuming IARC monograph on painting, firefighting and shift-work, but also because IARC neglected to pay me last month, and I have all of about 5 euros in my bank account. Literally. I told this to Farhad and he opened his wallet and gave me 40 euros to help me make it through the week. Fortunately I do have some groceries.

lundi 1 octobre 2007

Coupe du Monde

For the last month the sports news has been dominated by the Rugby World Cup, an event that I suspect has been getting slightly less press coverage in the United States than here. Adding to the local hysteria is that France is the host for the games, several of which have in fact occurred in Lyon’s Stade de Gerland. Whenever I have heard drunken people singing the Marseillaise outside of my window, I have known that La France is in another game.

Surprisingly, the US has indeed fielded a team and is participating. Shockingly, we have not made the finals. Julien told me that since the US team members must hold down day jobs, they seemed to tire more easily. We lost to all the other teams in our pool, even Tonga and Samoa.

The Friday before last I made the mistake of trying to meet up with someone at an Irish Pub down in Place Carnot at the same time as the France-Ireland game. The French don’t really do sportsbars, so they crowd into Irish pubs to watch sporting events, which was pissing off the Irish, who were already feeling pissy because Ireland was losing the game. Les Bleus creamed the Irish in that game. It was a sad day in the Irish Corner Pub.