Pink Trash Travels

Random Thoughts

After I placed my WCIU distress call the other day, I quickly received a note back from Nikki in Chicago saying she had a contact. So my information is now where it needs to be! Thanks Nikki! I'm trying to plan a mid-winter trip with the Chicago boys. I'll say this, it ain't easy. Because I'm fighting a cold, I stayed in most of the day. As a result, I have cabin fever. I had hoped to see Souris Cité, or Flushed Away, but of course French cinemas don't show the animated feature during the day. Don't even get me started...don't get me started. Well, now that I'm started, I saw Casino Royale on Wednesday night. I thought it was OK. But that might have had something to do with the fact that I had "back sweat" while standing in line to enter the theatre. And once inside, I stuck to my chair. I even planned for the heat by changing into a t-shirt. To top it off, someone behind me was coughing through the whole movie. CRIKEY! Stay home if you're sick. Especially in a theatre where the heat index is promoting the growth of nasty spores! Looks like the Instinct Magazine article will happen in February. I received an edit from them today but it needs a bit of revising.

Stuck at 79

For months, I've been trying to gain weight. Yes, I know, I'm lucky to have this as an option. Well, it appears I've stalled at 79 kilos. Besides that, I'm a bit concerned more weight is going to my belly than I'd like (which then gives me flashbacks of pear-shaped days in 7th grade when I'd go for a Daylight donut and Pepsi everyday after school). At this rate, I'll have to begin dieting in 2007. What a yo-yo.

Worldwide Visitors

It's amazing to see who finds their way to Pink Trash Travels. For example today I received visitors from:

United States

Sure, some stumble across it by searching for specific topics or visuals on (like "Madonna Jump Cover" - which pulls my site to the number one or two reference point). But what's great is that some then stay to read. And at times, I even receive an email or two. So a site that was originally created to keep family and friends updated on our travels has grown to include those I've never met - and that's pretty cool.

Creepy, Just Creepy

Everyday, I remind myself how grateful I am for my Sky satellite dish. Not only do I get shows like America's Next Top Model and Grey's Anatomy, but interesting commercials like the one below for Pure Comfort fabric softener - the #1 selling product in its category. The spot is seriously creepy. I wonder who approved the scary little troll, or Dr. Comfy. They should be fired.

Gimme! Gimme! Gimme!

An interactive Abba museum is set to open in Stockholm sometime in 2008. I'm suprised the group is participating. They seem so protective of continuing their elusive and anti-social behavior. I personally would love to be one of the expected 500,000 visitors a year to the museum. But with so many other sights on our list, and my hope of being back stateside by 2008, it looks like the closest I'll get to Abba is VH1.

Boy Bands Still Rule - UK Charts

With the physical single release of Patience, Take That takes their comeback single directly to #1. Akon's ho-hum Smack That drops to number two. And as promised, Emma's remake of Petula's Downtown leaps from #24 to #3 giving Baby Spice one of the biggest records of her solo career. Mr. Cameron Diaz drops from #2 to #4 with My Love. And, due to the numerous public appearances made this week by Westlife, their drippy The Rose holds onto #5.

Limited newcomer chart action this week leaves room for The Feeling's Love It When You Call to debut at #18. It's not as big as their last single Never Be Lonely, but almost as good in terms of quality and sing-along appeal.

I'm Tickled

Even though we don't know what Chris will be doing come next fall, I've decided to launch an investigative job search. In short, if there's something that interests me, I'm on it. Which is difficult considering there are few jobs that tickle my fancy.

Last week, I stumbled across a posting on Craigslist for an Associate Producer at Chicago's WCIU - specifically working on a children's education program. Since I was originally slated to move into production (before an alternate path directed me into marketing), it's always been something I wanted to revisit. And with my interest in children's writing, coupled with my experience in kids advertising), it looks like a perfect fit.

Now comes the hard part. How will I get their attention? And once I have it, will they see my age as a deterrent?

So today, I've been writing not only the cover letter to accompany my electronic resume, but also a commercial script that highlights my creativity and promotes the rationale behind my quest. In short, it's a :30 second spot titled "Boring." With it, I detail how we encourage children to explore creativity to enhance their mental growth, but as adults, we forget to do the same for ourselves.

Here's to hoping they find it intriguing. If not, there's always a mass email asking for your help (which will most likely happen anyway - no matter the outcome).

Oh What a Night

With the boys heading back to Chicago today, and Chris out of town, it's quiet on the home front. That's not to say we didn't have an exciting weekend - especially Saturday night when two patrons crashed through the front door of our favorite Italian eatery.

Of course, we had to take Matt and Paul to La Madonnia. It easily wins our "favorite spot" award in Paris. But towards the end of our meal, when the smoke began to finally clear, one of the men at the eight top next to us passed out. When his friend tried to revive him by carrying him outside, they smashed through the door. We sat in horror as both eased backwards with blood dripping from what appeared to be minor cuts. There wasn't much we could do.

Their remaining party quickly rushed outside. As Alex and Melanie morphed from wait staff into emergency technicians, we sat trying assess the need for our intervention. Our table, as well as the unusually large gay crowd, opted to salvage the night and finish our meal. Again, what could we do?

Upon leaving, we consulted Alex and Melanie as they continued their disaster relief. With a smile on their face, they didn't seem bothered by the incident. Would the outcome have been similar if it weren't the friendly Italian restaurant we've come to appreciate? A part of me thinks not. Then again, as I noted a few days earlier, I might still be bitter.

Who's Hot in UK Calendars

It's one of those bits of information that will come in handy at a boring Christmas party. So when you're all standing around with nothing to say, throw out that Robbie Williams is the UKs hottest 2007 calendar pin-up followed by sci-fi show Dr. Who. Other big sellers include Kylie, Take That and Girls Aloud. Now, don't you feel smarter?

Bitter Betty

For some reason, I'm really annoyed. Everything is driving me crazy. I think it's time to go back home for a visit. The problem is, I can't until February. So at this rate, I'm scared of what my mental state will be by Christmas. At least we're going to Strasbourg in two weeks. Maybe the Christmas Cheer will ease my nerves - at least until after the new year.

Was it Thanksgiving?

Turkey day was a bust. We thought by going to Harry's NY Bar we'd be able to literally get a taste of Thanksgiving while in Paris. But after visiting the empty bar around 11:30 and deciding to return just one hour later, we found out it fully booked. Most likely they only had one seating (because in Paris, once you sit down the table is yours). Something we didn't think about. So with sad faces and empty bellies, we weaved our way through the rain to the Marais for an unconventional holiday meal of eggs and quiches. At least we topped it off with lemon pie and spice cake!

Damn the Dander!

Paul and Matt arrived yesterday. They're leaving today. Paul is allergic to cats so they're checking into the Renaissance Vendome Hotel up the street. We warned him, so it was a gamble - and one that he lost. Well, actually, we all lose. It would have been nice to have them here. At least he gets points!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Considering 38MM people are traveling today, there's a good chance you're one of them. So, before you leave, Pink Trash Travels wants to wish you a Happy Turkey Day. Travel well. Be safe. And eat some green bean casserole for me!

Shout Out

I may not speak to you often, but you're on my mind. Thanks for following along Michelle in Wichita!

Where's the Turkey?

I noticed Charlie Brown's Thanksgiving was on television Monday night in America. If only my UK satellite provider would play the annual holiday treat. With nothing in sight to signify the upcoming holiday and launch of the Christmas season, it could be any other chilly month - like March. Sure, there are a few holiday decorations making an appearance. But their gold, pink and black hues don't say "Merry Christmas." It's more like "Happy Smoker's Day!"

Emma's Back!

It's one of those records that will NEVER get played in America. But no matter. It's going to be a big hit in the UK - and added to my morning "smoothie making" playlist.

Baby Spice found her niche back in 2004 with Free Me.. The 60's inspired CD featured numerous hits including the title track and Maybe. She returns to the nostalgic sound with this years Children in Need charity single. So play it, enjoy it, and pass it along - for the children.

Sometimes... don't have much to say. Today is one of those days. Sure, Paul and Matt arrived this morning (so I don't want to discount the fact that I'm really happy they're here). But in terms of anything noteworthy happening, it didn't. They toured the Eiffel, I returned home to buy groceries, do laundry, make a "fishstick" dinner, etc. Boring? Yes. Something to write home about? No. But, then again, I guess I just did.

Boy Bands Are Back II-UK Charts

Sure, Akon is the newly crowned #1 chart holder with his Smack That. And Justin Timberlake's My Love leaps from #14 to take the runner-up spot. But the story of the week goes to Take That's Patience which debuts at #4 on downloads only - right behind the #1 from last week, Westlife's The Rose and in front of Beyonce's Irreplacable at #5.

Created to duplicate the success of the New Kids on the Block, the boy band (then with Robbie Williams) stormed the charts back in 1992 with It Only Takes a Minute. This was, of course, after a dismal outing of their first three releases. But once they grabbed the headlines, there was no turning back. That is, until Robbie departed in 1995 for a solo career. This slight modification to the five member group became Take That's downfall. Look for them, however, to return to #1 next week once the physical release hits stores.

The song itself is firmly rooted in today's sound - no embarassing comeback (aka Totally Boyband's The One) for these boys. Interesting enough, Patience bests Robbie's own Limelight which jumps from 28 to 8 this week for his second Top 10 single pulled from Rudebox. Take a listen below.

Here's to less typing! is up and running. So if you're short on time or don't remember the "blogspot" ending, go to I kept the design simple (a result of my basic HTML skills) and added a tagline ("Spilling the Beans from Overseas"). My favorite is my alteration of the can of beans. It's the little things in life.

Spilling the Beans

Lindsay and Paris brought their fight to London. Whoopee!

Madonna is getting old. Aren't we all?

Finally, Nadine from Girls Aloud saw the light. Sure, Jesse's good looking. But his ego no longer fits through the door.

I have one word for Tomkat's wedding: ICK!

And speaking of the wedding, David Beckham's boss called and ordered him back home. Will he still receive a gift bag?

Some 007 geek must have been really bored.

Oh No You Didn't!

It's funny, the French don't mind waiting. They'll go to dinner and sit for hours. Yet, make them stand in line and they become even more irritated than normal. As a result, they start line cutting. But the kicker is nobody says anything. Nothing. Zip. Zilch. Nada. My friend lil' Dave experienced first hand their impatience while at Versailles. Chris and I witnessed it tonight.

As we were standing in a massive line at the Monoprix, a lady jumped in front of us - everyone actually. Nobody said a word. Nothing. Zip. Zilch. Nada. That is, until I gathered the nerve to approach her and let her know, in French no less, that her line cutting is unacceptable. "There is a line you know," I said. She mumbled a response. She then mumbled some more and continued unloading her basket. At this point, others in line finally chimed in. She responded accordingly and was sent away with her bitter tail between her legs. I felt vindicated.

Bond Breaks Records

Casino Royale is expected to reign supreme this weekend in America. But in the UK, the people have already spoken and made the latest Bond film the biggest opener of any previous 007 film. According to Columbia Pictures, Daniel Craig's first outing sold £1.7m of tickets in the UK on Thursday - twice as much as the former record holder, 2002's Die Another Day. Maybe Harrod's window displays featuring Casino Royale memorabilia (specifically Daniel's swimtrunks) had something to do with it!

The Price We Pay

When bagging our groceries at the local market, they barely give me enough plastic sacks to complete my job. In most cases, I have to ask for another. Today, while checking out of Leroy Merlin, they wanted to charge me .03/sack. You're kidding, right? Now I have to pay for something to carry my overpriced purchases home? I mean, I spent 14 Euros for three sticks painted red. Shouldn't I get a free sack?

Here Comes Santa Clause

While I was hunting today for a Poinsetta, I spotted a few, small stuffed Santa Clauses at Leroy Merlin (consider it a cross between Home Depot and K-mart). They even had Santa hats. I thought I was dreaming. Last year, Santa was no where to be found. Maybe the French are warming-up to welcoming St. Nick to Paris. I'll add that to my wish list.

Michael's Mess

The World Music Awards were held on Wednesday night in London. Sadly, Michael Jackson's headlining number quickly turned into a boofest. Fans expecting to see Michael's performance of "Thriller" instead were treated to three lines from "We Are The World" followed by a disappearing act into his background singers. His new wig must be cutting off the circulation to his brain - or what's left of it.

Instinct Article Update

Last night, right before bed, I received an email from Instinct magazine. They asked if I could rethink my article to better compliment their needs. In addition, they noted they're happy to work with me to make it the best article possible. Again, considerate and very professional.

So, I've spent most of the day reworking my piece to focus more on how the Pink Trash Traveler takes in Paris and reacts to the city including the nightlife, restaurants, etc. Basically, what I write about on a daily basis with more of a gay spin to appeal to the magazine's core audience.

We'll see where it goes from here...

Weird Wednesdays

Employees decorated Monoprix (a cross between Sears and Jewel/Kroger/Safeway) this week for the upcoming holidays. Nothing says Christmas like a black chandelier. Looks more like a dangling spider.

The Return of My Arch Nemesis

Today, my arch nemesis struck again. Except this time, I wasn't the object of his gym frustration. As Rick Owens and I were continuing our conversation from our initial meeting two weeks ago, my enemy approached Rick to ask him if he was using a bench. Rick replied with a pleasant "Yes." Rather then asking if he could work in, my nemesis became irrated. Sure, we were talking, but there's something to be said for sharing. It's a gym. I explained to Rick that the anger-filled, overly tan man obviously has issues with ANYONE who gets in his way - even though he himself didn't want to share a few months back when I removed his towel from the lat machine after he left for more than five minutes. So Rick and I ended our conversation (of course a few minutes later just to rub it in). As I said goodbye to Rick, I added, "Try not to get beat up."

Creepy Old Man

Sometimes, I feel as though I'm turning into a creepy, old man. You know, the kind that stares at those fortunate enough to appear on Men's Health.

For example, today at the gym, the hottest member was running on a treadmill. Since I had to start cardio again for the first time in two months, I purposely found a machine behind him. This way, he wouldn't see me appreciating his running form. Was it pure motivation or something more disturbing?

After all, I don't like being cruised by trollish figures lurking in dark corners. Then again, when it happens, I tell myself "If the attention stops, only then do I truly have a problem."

Is She Worth It?

Chris and I are contemplating trekking back to the UK in January for Kylie's Showgirl tour. We had tickets two years ago to see her in Dublin, but cancelled due to work obligations. Now that she's returning to the UK in celebration of her triumph over cancer, tickets are available via Craigslist and Ebay. But are they worth over $300 per show? Besides that, will British passport control even let me pass?

Boy Bands Are Back - UK Charts

Boy bands may be dead in America, but they're alive and well in the UK. With their 14th chart topping record "The Rose," Westlife now sits only behind the Beatles and Elvis Presley for the most UK number ones. If the charts incorporated taste, however, the Bette Midler remake would have tanked. It's horrible.

In at number two is the superstar collaboration of U2 and Green Day with "The Saints are Coming." Girls Aloud's arch rivals jump to #3 with "Rock Steady." And rounding out the top five are two "slippers": Fedde Le Grand's falls to #4 with "Put Your Hands Up for Detroit" and Beyonce's "Irreplacable" crumbles to #5 just as the single breaks into the top 10 in America.

Other tasty tidbits: Madonna's "Jump" leaps to #9. Check out George Michael's lastest ballad, "This Is Not Real Love," a duet with former Sugababes Mutya. It's not the best, but much better than his last tired funk outing.

124 Words or Less - London

Harassed by passport control. Loved Avenue Q. Looking for my "purpose." Toured the Natural History/Victoria & Albert Museums. I CAN go without screaming. Found hot men working at Paul Smith on Floral Street. Dined alone and with confidence in SoHo. Discovered the joy of coffee with late night dessert. Turning into an old lady. Stuffed free breakfast items in man's bag. Again, old lady. Watched Lord Mayor's parade. Discovered unexpected BBQ joint with my favorite "squirrel shit" ice and of all things Kansas State football on the TV. Fell more in love with London. Accepted its price tag. Stumbled across Chelsea. Made mental note to explore next time. 2:45 return train ride morphed into 4. Truly appreciate the Tubbax family for watching the kids.

Instinct Article Update

A few minutes ago, just before heading to bed, I conducted my final email check. One of two new emails was from Mike Wood, Editor-in-Chief of Instinct magazine. He wrote to let me know, due to his frantic schedule, that he was passing along the article to his Senior Associate Editor who would be helping him to develop features for upcoming issues. As Mike noted, "He (Jonathan) will be in touch with you shortly to discuss ideas, word count, etc. for possible inclusion in our February 2007 issue." This is great news. I'm happy to know they're still considering my submission. And, Mike concludes by letting me know I can still contact him directly and that there's "no love lost...I promise!" Very courteous. Very professional. And very much appreciated.

Hi Ho. Off We Go!

Since Chris has business in London this weekend, I decided to tag along. I need a shot of English. Our plans are simple. Tomorrow night we're seeing Avenue Q. I pray the "puppet" musical can hold my attention longer than other snoozefests like Titanic. The remainder of the weekend we'll most likely shop and eat a bit of Indian food. Here's hoping I run into Madonna (then again, she's too busy publicizing herself to do anything else).

Project Chicago

As noted in the previous post, "An Opportunity Knocks," Chris and I are starting the process of opening a business in Chicago. Of course, I'm impatient so I want everything done now. But, as we discussed last night, that's not how it works. And, after our conversation, I realized I don't like to be told what to do. So, this adventure is going to test my nerves and sanity. Maybe this isn't such a good idea.

The World's Reaction

From Paris to Pakistan, the world seems to be rejoicing in the Republican's defeat. More specifically, politicians and citizens seem to be celebrating the end of the "cowboy's lock" on America. According to Paul Haven, Associated Press writer, the international community "hopes the Democratic takeover of both Houses of Congress will force Bush to adopt a more conciliatory approach to global crises, and teach a president a lesson in humility."

First Smoking... this. McDonald's plans to cut trans fats in Europe by 2008. Maybe the fat removal will counter-balance the expected weight gain from the new smoking ban. The French will be as skinny as ever!

An Opportunity Knocks

Chris and I have always talked about starting a business. We've gone through a wide variety of concepts: bakery, gym, internet site. But we've always found a reason not to pursue each idea. We hoped after moving to Paris and traveling through Europe that one would present itself. We think it has.

Now I begin the process of exploring it further. It's difficult to know where to start. We have the concept. We know where it would be located. But now I have the challenge of not only gaining a better understanding of the merchandise and associated costs but the business plan that consequently flows from all of the information. This is what scares me.

I'm not a numbers guy. In the world of fruits and nuts, I'm a nut. I don't do calculations. But with Chris focused on work here in Paris, the dreaded financials are left to me.

So, over the next few months, I'll be gathering as much information as possible with the hopes of completing the business plan by the end of the year. In addition, I hope to contact the retail concept similar in design to determine if there are any partnership opportunities.

It's very exciting. Not only will the store give us the opportunity to dive into something we enjoy and believe in, it will give me a creative outlet in regards to merchandise, marketing and customer service. Even better, Maddie will have a place to work too!

Pricey Paris

We all know it's expensive to live in Paris. After all, the 8' x 9' Oompa Loompa room upstairs, with only a sink, would rent for around 400€/month. But it pains me when I have to spend 71€ for Maddie's dog food when a larger bag in America sells for $29. Ugh.

The New James Bond

One of Casino Royale's first reviews are in and it's good. Sure, it comes from a British newspaper. But you'd think the UK press would be more critical considering the country has a strong connection to the character. Written partiallly by Stephanie Condron, maybe the review was influenced by Daniel Craig's shirtless scenes. I know it makes me more interested to see the movie!

Dance Rules UK Singles Chart

The UK singles chart has always been odd. The music industry was responsible for classifying hits - not the buying public. But last week, the UK Official Charts Company announced that if a track sells, the singles chart will rank it. As a result, the chart will now mirror the US charts. The changes begin January 1.

In other chart news, dance music rules the roost. It's surprising, but welcomed by those who respect the genre more than most. Fedde Le Grand's "Put Your Hands Up For Detroit" ascends one spot to #1. Bodyrox's "Yeah Yeah" leaps nine spots to #2. Girls Aloud holds the #3 spot with their uptempo (and dance leaning) "Something Kinda Oooh." Rounding out the top five are Beyonce's "Irreplaceable" at #4 and My Chemical Romance's "Welcome To The Black Parade" at #5.

For lovers of UK Pop, check out All Saints' "Rock Steady," and Simon Webbe's "Coming Around Again" - both with strong potential to break into the top 10 next week. Other recommendations include Jamiroquai's "Runaway" which debuts at #18 and Amy Winehouse's "Rehab" which is undeniably catchy.

An Open Letter

Dear Mr. Noos,

You've done it again. After commenting on your consistent behavior to our friends this weekend, it appears you've resorted back to your inconsistent ways from a few months back. On both Saturday and today, we were unable to connect to your services. Fortunately, I'm able to grab a neighboring WI-FI stream. Otherwise, this open letter may not be so kind.

I find it unacceptable that we support you through our automatic deposit yet we continue to receive less-than-stellar results. I hope you resolve the problem soon without me having to contact you for a measly .34/minute.

The Pink Trash Traveler

An Unexpected Rendezvous

Most nights, Maddie and I walk through the Palais Royal gardens. As we do, I glance in the windows of an eclectic mix of fashion designers and high-end retailers. But what always caught my eye was the "human mannequin" standing behind the counter at Rick Owens' newly opened boutique. Who knew it was wax?

Every so often, I spotted the "human mannequin" working out at L'Usine. With gauze like shirts, black shorts and hiking boots, I thought his wardrobe was a bit odd for a proper sweatfest. But you tend to become numb to such eccentricities when you're living in Paris.

A few weeks back, as Maddie and I were strolling through the gardens, we spotted the "human mannequin" on his way to take his place behind the counter. But since we had just passed the store with the figure in place, it didn't take long for me to realize the black, long haired, and lean model standing ever so still for hours was indeed lifeless and that the "human mannequin" was Rick Owens.

On Saturday, as we guided our friends through Paris, we stopped inside Rick's shop. The wax figure was gone but the original was there in full glory. Not only was he quite personable, he enjoyed my story. Besides that, our friend Tony from Chicago entertained us all with his catwalk of Rick's 8 inch heel boots.

So even though Rick's duplicate is gone from the store until December, it appears I'll be able to see the real thing on and off at the gym. And this time, as we discussed on Saturday, we'll both set aside our usual gym practices and say hello.

Full House

Tony and Clem arrived today via Amsterdam. And with Lil' Dave here since Sunday, it's a full house. With everyone in town, combined with Chris not working, you'd think it was Thanksgiving. Then again, there's no giant SpongeBob SquarePants balloon floating through Times Square.

Our Day In The Valley

It's been a busy week. With Lil' Dave in town, we've not only gone to Disneyland, but yesterday, we drove to the Loire Valley to visit two of the most popular castles in France: Chambord and Chenonceau They are beautiful. They are big. They are over the top.

Built to impress, both castles convey a sense of opulence. King Francois constructed Chambord as a hunting lodge. With 13,000 acres, it provided enough game for the French and their guests to shoot red deer for days. Chenonceau, on the other hand, was King Henry II's way of saying "I Love You" to his mistress, Diane de Poitiers. But soon after his death, his wife reclaimed the "Whore House" and relocated Ms. Poitiers to a another chateau down the river (for those of you who watch ABC's Brothers & Sisters, the storylines are similar).

With rich histories, both castles depict a sense of royalty's extravagance back when heads were rolling. It's good to know they didn't let the turbulence impact their social life.