Pink Trash Travels

It's Not in My Head

Some people don't understand why I despise flying. I try to tell them it throws me off balance more than normal. Now I can refer to this article for back-up support while making the face of a five year old. "See, it's not in my head."

New & Noteworthy - Maroon 5

This new single from Maroon 5, just released this week, makes me giddy. It's truly a superb pop record. I'm hoping with the success of Michael Bublé's Everything, Pink's U + UR Hand and Katherine McPhee's Over It and now Maroon 5's single, the music industry and buying public will return to embrace pop music. Check out Maroon 5's Makes Me Wonder below.

Two Thumbs Up 4 Ratatouille

Now that we've lived in Paris, it's fun to watch Hollywood projects that highlight the French culture. Sure, most exagerate everything Parisian as they did in the last season of the O.C. when Taylor fell in love with a Frenchman who smelled like Cheese. But that doesn't make it any less entertaining.

This summer, Disney releases Ratatouille. It's the story of a rat named Remy who dreams of becoming a great Chef in France. The film looks adorable with its many references to France including bike riders with baguettes, amazing cuisine and people with attitudes. Check out the trailer here.

Munich Update

For those of you who've been following along on our journey to find a flat in Munich, we believe we've found one. It may not be in the center of Munich, but it's fairly close (a short 15 minute walk or two stops on the U-bahn). The real good news is for our guests joining us around Oktoberfest. You'll literally be able to stumble home from the fairgrounds.

The flat itself is amazing with two floors, vaulted ceilings, three bedrooms three baths, huge terraces and what we understand will be a new kitchen. The owner even asked us to select paint colors for the rooms as he has to repaint. Now that's a landlord!

Club Fridays

It's time for the ladies to shine. Though, now that I think about it, I always feature songs with female vocals. I suppose that's not surprising considering few dance records contain strong male vocals. There's always next week.

Lola's I Can't Take It features a remix by Josh Harris - former half of the now defunk Passengerz production team. If your're a fan of their work on Madonna's Love Profusion and Seal's Love's Divine, you'll recognize the similarities with Josh's reworking of this single. Link available here.

And with the second featured single this week we see the return of Sophie Ellis-Bextor who "Murdered the Dancefloor" a few years back. Digital Dog keeps the vocals in place but underlays a slight electro vibe throughout the track. Link available here. (Unlike previous posts, this link is sponsored on Zshare. Look for "Download This File" above the video screen).

Please note: the songs featured on this site are notices to links only. I do not upload any music - I merely share the links to tracks I find interesting and noteworthy.

All Alone @ 10:00 p.m.

It's 10 p.m.
No gas company representative.
No gas.
No hot water.
Big surprise.
Whoops. I spoke too soon.
I hear a knock.
I'm no longer alone.
It's 10:19 p.m.
I now have gas.

All Because of a Train Ticket

When riding the Paris subway, sometimes the police stop you to check for a valid train ticket. Sadly, this is what caused the riots last night at Gare Du Nord.

Frankly, I find it annoying when I see numerous young hooligans jumping the ticket gates or squeezing in behind you. I paid why shouldn't they? Sure, I make a decent living. But if I didn't, and I couldn't afford the train ticket, I wouldn't be riding. So part of me has no sympathy for what became of the gentleman last evening. Was it necessary to riot? No. But as I've reported time and time again, it seems to be in the French's blood to manifest.

Here We Go Again

I have a cold. All I want is a hot bowl of stove-top prepared chicken noodle soup. The problem is I can't make one because our gas was shut off this morning. Apparently, they were doing work in the building and once they were finished, they forgot to turn ours back on.

I tried calling the Gas Company. I could barely understand a word they were saying. It sounded like Charlie Brown's phone conversations. "Wah, wah, wah, wah." So I headed upstairs to where I hoped I could retrieve some help and to find out if we were the only ones without gas.

I thought I knocked on the family's door that speaks English. Wrong. I bothered a little old French lady and her husband as they were just finishing dinner. She spoke a bit of English, but mostly French. So there I was trying to explain my situation to her in French as her little old husband watched from behind their French glass doors. We called the Gas Company, on my dime, and explained the situation.

Now I wait. From what I understand, the Gas Company will be visiting me later tonight. In French time, that means tomorrow. I guess I'll resort to the microwave for that bowl of soup.

Our Future Pastime

The International Beard Championships are being held this week in Germany. Is this what we have to look forward to in regards to entertainment once we move to Germany? If so, bring it on. Who needs the Louvre when I can spend the day learning new beard techniques!

This Explains It

It looks like I barely escaped being gassed on my way home Tuesday night. That's what I get for taking public transportation.

It's Not Me, Really

I know at times my entries probably seem a bit negative towards Paris. But let me set the record straight - I don't embellish the negative feeling this city at times portrays. For example, as I walked around London today after work, the city was alive. It was sunny and people were happy. As soon as I set foot back in Paris at the train station, I'm welcomed by hundreds of armored police officers guarding the Metro lines (of course one I needed to take to return home). I'm not sure what was going on, but it was like night and day in terms atmosphere. London was energetic and vibrant. Paris was dark and depressing. This ain't fiction folks. It's reality.

Calling Mother Nature

As I sit here waiting for the movers to arrive to estimate our moving needs in 8 weeks, I scanned the weather details for Paris. Right now, it's a bit cold. In fact, the temperatures are hovering around 50 degrees which is more indicative of February and not the end of March or first part of April. And according to reports, it looks like it's not changing anytime soon. Didn't spring start March 21st?

It did in Chicago. Apparently, the Windy City was a balmy 75 degrees and sunny yesterday. In Kansas City, it was 79 and in New York 75. Here, in Paris, our Sunday was cloudy, drizzly and barely 48 degrees.

Sure, we didn't have a cold winter. It was chilly but rarely colder than freezing during the day. But the problem is it appears it's going to be one of those winters that lingers for weeks - never getting warm. And unlike back home where you can have a temperature swing of 30 degrees in February where you walk around in shorts and t-shirts, that never happens in Paris. It's quite constant. But sometimes you need that burst of sun and heat to keep you going. Unfortunately, the only heat I'll be getting is from the tanning bed.

So here I sit, waiting for the movers and the spring-like weather to arrive. Let's hope the movers are more prompt than Mother Nature. Who am I kidding, it's France. Nothing is ever on time.

Talk About Labor Charges

Being a plant connoisseur, I find it interesting that throughout Europe, they cut back most trees along city streets and in parks. Workers dangle in the trees like monkeys removing limbs and branches - making the once glorious shade providers nub-like and naked. This morning, the three trees across from our flat received their annual clipping (though, I believe last year they received a reprisal). And sadly (well, not really), we’ll be gone before they have a chance to recover. C’est la vie!

Who Knew?

You don’t know what you’ve got until it’s gone. In this case, it’s my wheely cart. A few months back, one of its two wheels broke. We replaced it only for it to break again. Apparently the 9 liters of water I wheely back from the Monoprix on a weekly basis took its toll on the black vinyl bag. Now, I find myself avoiding at all costs lugging Evian to the flat (and anything more than four bags of groceries). Who knew a wheely cart could be so important to someone other than a 72 year old lady?

Club Fridays

For me, finding great dance music is like opening presents on Christmas morning. And sharing them, knowing you enjoy the songs at the gym, at home or in the car, is just as good.

Up first is what I consider the best dance track of the year. A Girl Called Jane's He's Alive remixed by Jody Den Broeder gives me tingles with its piano riffs, hand-clap beats, catchy chorus and driving energy. Personally, it doesn’t get any better than this. Click here to download. And considering it’s one of my favorites, I’m throwing in the Ralphi Rosario mix that takes the song a bit darker and to the circuit dancefloor. Link available here.

Though I featured Beyonce last Friday, I couldn’t wait to share her collaboration with Shakira this week. The Freemasons, who gave Beyonce’s past hits dance floor credibility, return to work their magic on Beautiful Liar. The track, with it's R & B/Latin vibe, is one of the most inspired pairings since disco divas Donna and Barbara climbed the charts in 1979. Look for the dance mix (and original version) to top radio by summertime. Link available here.

For the Birds

Our apartment hunt in Munich is now officially "for the birds." We were told today our first choice landlord wants a five-year rental commitment. Isn't this something he could have told us BEFORE we even looked at the place? He waisted our time so part of me wants to curse the flat. But knowing that's bad karma, I've decided to keep a positive spirit towards him and his desire for a long-term renter (thanks to My Name is Earl for that enlightenment).

How Time Flies

Tonight, my friend Dave and I started discussing how time flies. After all, it was two years ago next month that Chris and I decided to move to Paris. With that being said, our impending move to Munich in June and subsequent return to Chicago now doesn't seem so far away.

But when I start to think of reverting back to the normalcy of owning a house and having a full-time job, I get scared. "So why would you?" some would say. We travel. We save money. We live a life many dream about. What we're missing, however, are family, friends, gamenights and my future backyard Koi pond.

Then again, I shouldn't even be thinking of what lies ahead next year. As I've learned, it can change in an instant. Just when I think I've figured it out something comes along and reconfigures my Koi pond's timetable. Good thing I don't buy any fish.

TV Help Wanted

A few months back, someone at a party told me about the Slingbox. I wasn't sure what they were talking about as it seemed somewhat complicated. But yesterday, I stumbled across an article that praised this new technology.

In short, it's a box you connect to your Tivo or PVR that allows you to watch your home TV anywhere in the world via the internet and your laptop computer. But being a traditionalist when it comes watching TV, I had to ensure we could connect my computer to our European TV for complete home viewing. Sure enough, we can. So, now the search is on for someone to host our TV back home.

I have the Tivo. All we need now is a TV in a second bedroom (or one that's not used often) with a phone jack (to connect to Tivo) and a router to connect the Slingbox to the internet (a router provides multiple uses for one broadband line). That, or we're on the hunt for someone with digital cable that allows us to connect a second line and PVR (personal video recorder) along with the router. It may sound difficult but it's rather simple: TV, PVR unit (Tivo or otherwise), phone line or cable connection and internet router.

We have a few friends in mind. The problem is finding the one who doesn't mind the hassle of helping us to set it up. So, if any of you back home are intersted, we're taking applications. And now that I found out CNBC no longer airs The Tonight Show in Europe, it becomes an urgent matter.

Dating Our Apartment

Our apartment search in Munich has been more in, out, up and down than Ms. Lohan's rehab stints. We find an apartment. We lose the apartment. We find an apartment. We lose the apartment. And even though Chris met with the owner of our first choice yesterday who came back to us a few weeks ago asking if we were still interested, our living arrangements in Munich are still in question. Apparently the owner is concerned of our early departure. He'd prefer to rent to someone who's committed long term. Apparently, we're dating the apartment.

So now we wait until he draws a prenuptial agreement that compensates him if we decide to leave after a given time frame. (which, we all know is most likely the case). "Excuse me?" I repeat to myself. Considering two parties were interested in the apartment before construction was completed, I don't think he'll have a problem renting the unit once we leave. In addition, apparently we're required to install a kitchen that would cost upwards of $25,000. "Excuse me?" I continue to repeat to myself. This seems wrong on many levels.

I've told Chris, as his business manager, that we're absolutely NOT spending our money to build a kitchen in a rental. I know it's common in Europe, but this American refuses to budge. In Europe, I'm a renter, not a property owner. As such, I expect a kitchen to be part of the deal. Call me crazy.

Bursting with Pride

Living in the United States is something many American’s take for granted. The words life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness seem to become nothing more than words written by a president – and most wouldn’t know which one. I admit I was probably was one of those people. That is, until, I moved to Europe. Now that I’ve lived amongst those who crave everything the red, white and blue stands for, I’ve learned to appreciate what I’ve been given as a U.S. born citizen. I can honestly say, “I’m proud to be an American.”

I wish everyone could experience the absence of home and country. They say you don’t know what you’ve got until it’s gone. And being in Paris, France where there appears to be an incredible desire to mass exodus, it becomes even more apparent how fortunate I am to be able to return stateside.

I know, at any given time, I can board a plane and fly back to America. I can find a job, buy a home and explore the land of opportunity. For many Europeans, it’s only a dream – and one that most likely won’t come their way. I quite often hear, “If only I could move.” The French may be prideful in their ways, but when you speak to them on a more personal level, some expose their true feelings about America and how they’d love to acquire what many in the U.S. under appreciate. That’s why there still exists a lottery for a green card. It many not be worth millions of dollars, but it provides the opportunity for lucky individuals to live in America.

So now I wear my sweatshirts and tennis shoes with pride. I feel a sense of honor when speaking English on the metro. I no longer worry what the French think of my American ways. I’m proud to call America home. And if anything, I wish I could instill a bit of that feeling with those back home who never stop to think about how fortunate they are to live in Los Angeles, Chicago, New York and everywhere in between. Because even though they many not know it, there’s somebody out there who’d love to take their place.

Club Fridays

In celebration of St. Patrick's Day, this week Club Fridays features something for everyone. First, for T-dance lovers, former American Idol contestant Kimberly Locke and remixer Scotty K deliver a tune perfect for around 4 p.m. at the Winter Party main event. Link available here.

And though Beyonce's standout track from Dreamgirls (and featured on B Day) was somewhat overshadowed by all the hoopla surrounding Jennifer Hudson, Mike Cruz provides a Listen dance mix for circuit boys everywhere. Link available here.

How Sweet

Today a young, attractive woman approached me in the gym. I spotted her a few days ago mouthing "hello" from across the room. She said she "wanted to introduce herself." How sweet. I carried on the conversation for a few minutes - not wanting to be rude. Apparently, she's not aware I prefer those of the same persuasion. I do find it flattering however. It's nice to know I can still pull in the ladies - that and I'm not overly gay (no comments from the Chicago peanut gallery). Too bad it wasn't Boris.

Cheesy Pop Fun - Swedish Style

It's a cheesy, European song contest. Big suprise most entries are lighter than Planter's Cheese Balls. But that's okay because I "likey me some artificial cheddar." This year, Sweden selected a drag band for their entry - leaving hottie Mans Zelmerlow as third runner-up. I think they made a mistake. His entry has hints of Abba who won with Waterloo in 1974.

If It's Good Enough for DP

Last August, after our trip to Ibiza, I started a weight gain program with the goal of adding a solid 20 pounds. Of course, I was hoping for more muscle than fat. But what I realized this past January is that my body is somewhat limited in its potential for muscle growth. Instead, it likes to store unwanted pounds around my midsection - eventually making what I gained in upper body mass seem smaller due to my increased waiste size. So, I began shredding the weight for Puerto Vallarta. And, low-and-behold, I'm returning to where I was last summer. But unlike before, I've finally accepted what I've been given. Don't ask me why it took 36 years for me to make this revelation. Maybe it was the Diet Pepsi ad I spotted on the back of March's Instinct magazine. If it's good enough for them, it should be good enough for me. Either way, it's a great feeling. Now if only I had his hair.

Take Action

First Isaah Washington. Now this? Most likely, many of you have heard the comments made last Friday by Ann Coulter. She sadly referred to John Edwards as (I don't even want to type it) "faggot." There is something to be said for free speech. But when it crosses the line of civility by tearing down and demeaning a community, something must be done. Contact the carrier of Ms. Coulter's column, Universal Press Syndicate, by clicking HERE. Let your voice be heard.

PTT Travel Tip - Packing

When traveling to France, be sure to NEVER pack small valuable items like iPods, jewelry, etc. in checked baggage. It seems while security is looking for dangerous items, they're also shopping for themselves (or aunts and uncles at Christmas). This past weekend my partner Chris had an iPod shuffle removed from a tucked location inside his shoe. He knew better than to pack it away where dirty hands could find it. After all, he had a watch stolen just last year. Hopefully he's learned his lesson - again. Here's to helping you avoid a similar fate.

Paris Police

I'm not sure why, but you rarely see just one police officer in Paris. They're never alone. Instead, they travel in packs like schools of fish - swimming through traffic on rollerblades. On one hand it's odd. On the other, you can walk the streets of Paris feeling secure. Apparently there is safety in numbers. Besides that, some are quite hot. The excercise does them good - real good.

Club Fridays

Though the music sidebar may be gone, Pink Trash hasn't forgotten the music. Introducing Club Fridays where I'll feature my favorite dance track of the week - available for download! Up first, Hilary Duff's With Love mixed by Bimbo Jones. Hilary's ditching her kid pop routine for one that's more Kylie - and we like it. Link available here.

PV Foto Faves

Karma On Board!

I don't enjoy flying. But when I do, I try to keep good karma coming my way. So last night when I ruffled the feathers of a fellow Red Carpet Club member, I began to worry. Would my slight nasty remarks made with a grin send my plane crashing into the Atlantic Ocean?

Before boarding, I stopped by the United lounge for a bathroom break and snack fix. Of course, I entered one of two lines where the gentleman in front of me was undertaking a 10-minute transaction. So, after watching numerous guests pass me by in line number two, I glanced at the receptionist. She responded with what I thought was a "come on over." As a result, I sidestepped my way into line two - ahead of an older man who wasn't amused.

He stated, "There are two lines." I replied, "I know" as I moved forward with handing my boarding pass to the receptionist. The old man continued to mumble such phrases as, "You could say excuse me next time." As I retrieved my ticket and walked away, I answered his disgust with "Have a nice flight sir." It wasn't a gritty reply. But it did have a bite.

I truly didn't mean to cut. I thought I was following orders. But instead of handling the situation with positive energy, I took a defensive stance and responded with a bit of attitude. My hunger may have been clouding my judgment. I thought about approaching the gentleman and apologizing (with McDonald's coupons as a peace offering). But for some unknown reason I let the moment go. Needless to say, I sat in the lounge wondering if my actions would come back to haunt me.

Fortunately, they didn't. Maybe it was because I shared my story with my next-door neighbors on the plane. Or, could it be those around me on flight 942 had excess karma to counterbalance my faux paux. Either way, I landed safe and sound in Paris. I wasn't able to watch one of my movie selections however. The sound was broke. So if that's karma's payback, I'll take it.

New & Noteworthy

Since most of you are deprived of true great pop records, consider this my gift to you. It's the second comeback single (and currently number one in the UK) from Take That. Shine literally bounces along - layered with vocals reminiscient of ELO. Enjoy!

Back 2 Reality (Almost)

Having arrived in Chicago last night, I'm almost back to reality. Considering I don't like to fly, I scheduled a two day layover in the Windy City - giving me a much needed break from that airplane smell.

For my one full day in town, I went to the gym (where I still find myself challenged to speak in English to those around me), I joined my friend Dave at Panera for a good ole' American sandwich, I wandered through the aisles at Costco missing every bulk item along the way, and I finally picked-up the March edition of Instinct magazine. And to top it off, I'm spending tonight with those friends I missed while in Puerto Vallarta alongside KFC's new Variety Big Box Meal Deal loaded with Popcorn Chicken, Mashed Potatoes, Cole Slaw and Biscuits (items unavailable in Europe). Just when I think I've assimilated...

Random Thoughts - PV Edition

* Because Paris has very few Mexican restaurants, I've been craving food with a jalapeno kick for months. Now that we've been here five days, I'm on pepper overload. As a result, we ordered Domino's pizza last night. * There's something to be said for having a staff of three including a chef and personal margarita maker. * When going out in Puerto Vallarta (at least this week), it's not about the attractive crowd but rather your friends. As Samantha stated on Sex and the City, "This is the train to ugly." Then again, our trip to PV was never intended to revolve around the social scene. It was about reconnecting with good friends (but let's be honest, it's always nice to have eye man candy). * For as much as gay men spend on facial products, it's ironic how many hours we spend in the sun. * Who knew a Lazy Susan could be so handy? It's perfect for passing tortillas and playing Phase 10. * Don't eat shrimp ceviche that's been sitting by the pool for four hours. You'll pay for it later with multiple trips to "el bano."