Pink Trash Travels

Thank You Global Warming

Are you listening Al Gore? Sometimes global warming isn't all bad. Here in Paris, we've had the hottest April since 1952. I'm not complaining. It sure makes our last few days here in Paris more pleasant than last year when an endless spring chill lingered around until July. Merci beaucoup!

Making Me Feel Special

While having dinner tonight with our friend Peter, one topic of conversation was what Chris and I were going to do tomorrow. Being that it's a national holiday called "Day of No Work," many have the day off. Restaurants are closed. Retailers are closed. Even our gym is closed. Fortunately for us, the movie theatres are open. In fact, Spiderman 3 begins tomorrow - three days ahead of the U.S. so we're going to the hot, steamy and most likely smelly cineplex tomorrow at 11:40 to be one of the first to see the webslinger in action. Peter of course couldn't understand the excitement. He's waiting for the DVD release - and even then he won't watch it until he's absolutely bored. His loss. I'm giddy not only knowing the summer movie season has begun but also that I get to see the film before everyone else back home. I guess that makes me feel special.

Taking Me Back Home

It's preparing to thunderstorm here in Paris (for the first time in almost three weeks). And with the combination of it being 80 degrees and the sound of the fan I have turned on to cool down the flat, it reminds me of being back hom in Kansas (where we didn't have a/c but only the cooling breeze of a box fan). Ah...

Annoying Little Buggers

Today we picked-up a painting we purchased last weekend. After this 35 minute excursion across maybe 12 blocks, I realized even further why I don't drive in Paris - it's hell. Fortunately for me, I've only operated a vehicle as many times as I can count on one hand. And probably fortunate for others, I don't plan on doing it anytime soon.

It's not the traffic that makes it so horrible. It's the scooters. They weave in and out like snakes through grass. And if you get in their way, it's your fault - no exceptions. If I drove, road rage would surely kick-in. I'd want to bump the little buggers right off the road.

So I walk. I don't even ride my bike as I was almost killed two years ago when I ventured out to find a needle for my turntable. It's better this way - for my health and those around me.

Club Fridays

This week, I actually found a male vocalist dance record worthy of being featured on Club Fridays. Chicago's own Ralphi Rosario remixes Enrique's new single (and oddly titled) Do You Know (The Ping Pong Song). Ralphi's trademark beats work nicely with the song's melody. Link available here.

Jojo does Toto! Her latest single Anything samples Toto's Africa - one of my favorite songs of all time. By punching up the original, WaWa converts Anything's hip hop beats to a more progressive, European sound. And with full-on vocals, it's hard to resist (even if Africa is limited to just the breakdown). Link available here.

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

Ladybug Picnic

The song is featured in a UK advertisement for Heinz Salad Cream (another way to sell maynonaise). Everytime I hear the tune, it's in my head for hours. I finally found out where it comes from - Sesame Street! See the original below. But beware! You'll be singing it until tomorrow.


I was a bit scolded today at the gym for not speaking French. An acquaintance said hello then mumbled something I couldn't understand. When I replied that I didn't understand, he said in English, "You've lived here for two years and you don't know what I said? You should be speaking French." It's not that I'm not speaking French. It's the fact that he said it so quickly I needed him to repeat - which, by the way, isn't uncommon. All of this got me thinking. If the situation was reversed, would I reprimand someone in America for not speaking English?

Quite honestly, no. If I knew two languages, and someone who wasn't a permanent resident maybe wasn't fluent in one, I'd communicate with them in the other. And, I would never tell them they should "do anything." At some point, I might say it would make it easier on them, but I wouldn't go so far as to condone their actions.

I chalk it up to the French's constant display of nationalism. They're so worried about losing individuality in a world consumed by the United States, they make a strong effort to hold their values dear. Which, is fine with me, but don't then secretly wish you had everything I have the right to including a job and a home in the land of the free.

American Idol in France

It's called Nouvelle Star and it's the French version of American Idol. And just like Sanjaya in America, the show has finalists that are more buzz worthy for their strange performances than actual singing. Julien isn't the best, but there's something oddly entertaining about his take on Madonna's Like a Virgin. Check it out below (it's a bit blurry but worth the eye strain).

Freakishly Warm

The weather in Paris continues to be freakishly warm and summer-like. But considering we don't have central air conditioning, it's a bit unpleasant for sleeping at night. We do, however, have a roll-away a/c unit. But because it requires outside ventilation, it's quite the process to connect it to a window lining I make out of plastic shower curtains (hidden by curtains of course). So, it looks like I'll be having a few restless nights until the weather returns to more suitable conditions for snoozing.

Another Odd Smell

Yesterday, after Dennis the Cat’s room exploded with food everywhere, an odd smell filled the space. I thought it might coming from his electric water dish because his breakfast, lunch and dinner filled the contraption with soggy tuna flavored pieces. But after searching in a space no bigger than a walk-in closet for 30 minutes, I gave up - hoping the smell would go away. Luckily, it did. Apparently the foul odor was seeping through the floor from the eatery below. Reason #458 not to live above a fish restaurant.

Munich Update

I've neglected to include an update on our Munich move for friends and family back home. Here it is in 140 words or less. For everyone else, well, check back tomorrow for more interesting tidbits you'd find interesting - like why French men dress like cheesy Italians when it's 80 degrees and sunny in Paris.

We've signed a lease and the flat is ours as of May 1. It's to the South and West of Munich's city centre - but just a short 15 minute walk to the heart of downtown. It's a 3 bedroom, 3 bath with two levels. One bedroom will be converted into a walk-in closet as the German's don't usually incorporate closets into the floorplan. It has a bright yellow kitchen - one we'd never buy at home but for Munich it seems appropriate. The flat has two terraces - one off the kitchen perfect for a b-b-q and the other on the second floor (to be used as a sun deck). Movers arrive May 28 for two days to pack our things in Paris. We depart May 31 for Munich in a rented car to arrive in Munich 6-7 hours later.

Another Eurovision Tragedy

If your having a bad start to your week, check out the UK's entry for Eurovision 2007. It's funny to watch an over-the-hill, manufactured pop group try to recapture their glory days. Couldn't Scooch have spent a bit more time on the choreography? And what's up with the costumes? Tragic.

"Antonio" Strikes Again

I can't comment on how good Jason Lewis looks on ABC's Brothers & Sisters since it's one of those shows unavailable on our satellite. But in his Aero chocolates ad here in Europe, it appears he's caught the "Antonio Sabato Syndrome." He's so lean and muscular his face looks gaunt and deprived of nourishment. Give the man a sandwich. He's obviously not eating the chocolates!

Manifestation Free

Today's voting in France, shockingly, was relatively quiet. Instead of manifesting around the city, Parisians took to the polls with a subdued sense of urgency with almost 85% casting their vote. They'll riot about the rising cost of cheese but remain calm for presidential elections. Just when I think I've figured them out.

Hemorrhoids in Paris

When it comes to ailments, marketers in America rarely show the body part affected - consider it the pink elephant in the room. In Europe, however, they have no problems using real images to sell a product. Nothing pushes hemroids cream better than a man's firm and fit "derriere" I suppose.

Club Fridays

This week, Club Fridays is all about celebrating Tony Moran. He's a producer, songwriter, singer and DJ. His latest collaborations with Kristine W and Jennifer Lopez continue his tradition of reworking original mixes into diva dance anthems. For information on Tony Moran, check out his website at www.

She's had more number one dance hits on Billboards Charts than any other artist. She's hoping her latest, Walk Away (Tony Moran and Warren Rigg Mix), continues her streak. You may find it a bit bland at first, but it grows on you! Then again, I'm a sucker for Kristine W. I waited to see her at Virgin Megastore in Chicago. Yes, sad. But good! Link available here.

I blame it on American Idol. Jennifer Lopez's Que Hiciste is quite entertaining on its own. And I may not understand a word she's saying, but her presentation, combined with Tony Moran's beats, makes Que Hiciste (Tony Moran Mix) a winner and one you'll most likely here throughout the summer. It's got heat! Link available here.

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

Apple TV to My Rescue

Because I'm an entertainment and TV whore, having American TV is essential for me to survive. As a result, we have Sky satellite TV that beams UK programming with select stateside TV shows into our flat. But because only some are licensed to the UK, we fail to receive certain shows I'd love to watch including 30 Rock and Project Runway. With our purchase of Apple TV this week in Chicago, Apple once again comes to my rescue.

The new cash cow for Apple wirelessly syncs your computer's iTunes library, including movies and shows, with your HD television. So we'll have a second option to retrieve those programs I'm sorely missing. When will I find time to work?

Xenophobe Lesson #3

In preparation for our move to Munich, our friend Francesca recently gave us Xenophobe's Guide to the Germans. It's a book that comedically tries to explain German beliefs to a "Xenophobe" - someone who might have an "irrational fear of foreigners." As the publisher states, "To be forewarned is forearmed." So, over the next 8 weeks, I'll be sharing some interesting tibits from the book.

Xenophobe Lesson #3: The Germans are fond of their pets, which come in two forms - Alsatians, and preposterously small poodles wearing little woolly jackets and ribbons in their hair. The point of these creatures is to be obedient and loyal (Alsatians) or to eat expensive chocolates and pooh everywhere (poohdles). Saying anything rude to a German about his dog is more than your life is worth. All dogs are beautiful, and the world is their litter tray.

Oh no. Does this mean the streets will be filled with more steaming land mines than Paris? This can't be possible. Please say it's not possible.

"Gas Prices, What?"

If you thought the price of my 8 tortillas and peanut butter was bad, look what we, and other Europeans, are paying for gas. "What?" and a "Eeh Gah!"

Searching for Acceptance

Isn’t it funny how we’re never satisfied? It seems we always want more money, more time, and in my case, more muscles. But over the past month, I’ve been trying to accept my body for what is – lean and tidy. I may not weigh over 200 pounds as originally planned, but resting around 170 should be acceptable. Besides that, when I see what others do to get what they want, like a bigger physique, I realize sometimes you need to know when to call it quits and accept what your family tree has given you.

For example, it’s spring. And with the blooming of flowers also comes the explosion of injected testosterone at the gym. I’m all for getting the help you need to achieve your goals. But when the results of those intentions are a bit scary, and some overdose on what we call “the juice,” it’s sad to see them transform themselves into Frankenstein.

Take my latest motivation at the gym. When I first saw him, he was solid, handsome and perfect in many ways. Now that a few weeks have passed and the injectibles are starting to settle in, he’s becoming a bit ogre-like. Combine that with an overdose of tanning beds UV rays and a weight-line haircut, he’s beginning to lose his appeal. But interesting enough, he probably thinks he’s on the path to perfection – when he already had it.

So what makes us stop obsessing over what we don’t have and appreciate what we do? Is it constant reminders from those around you? Hopefully we don’t need to rely on fluffers for self-confidence. I suppose its life experiences that open our eyes. For me, my light bulb moment was when, after experimenting for 8 months, I looked in the mirror and noticed my efforts were tragically misguided – right to my midsection. I guess if I hadn’t gone through that process, I’d still be wishing for more instead of accepting who I am. Here’s to hoping Mr. Infatuation from the gym, and others, realize the same.

Why We Stock-up in America

Everytime we return stateside, we bring a suitcase back to Paris filled with those items difficult or expensive to find in Paris. Why? Consider this: I just bought 8 soft taco shells at the market for over $6.00! Crazy. But compared to peanut butter's $9.00 price tag, I guess it's a bargain.

It's Hot in Paris...

...and I don't mean the weather. David Beckham and his bird-like wife apparently were in town and shopping just up the street at Collette. Maddie and I walk by there quite reguarly, but we NEVER see anyone. I didn't think that store still drew a famous crowd considering that's why people go there - to see someone like the Beckhams.

Honestly, he couldn't be any hotter. The simple outfit. The arm sleeve. The mirrored shades. It makes me want to cut my hair, get a tattoo (already on the agenda) and go shopping for sunglasses.

Another Trend Returns

Last year, we started seeing guys wear one pant leg rolled. I thought it was a trend until someone convinced me it was because they didn't want their pant leg stuck in their bike chain. Because I'm seeing it again this year (now more than ever), I've come to realize it's indeed a trend - and one that's quite odd.

Then again, I don't plan on following along. It's apparently for those under 25 - dare I say even 20. And since I was told on Friday anyone over the age of 30 is TOFA (too old for Abercrombie), I'm out on at least one account (I'm still game for an A & F polo now and then).

America - Land of the Inexpensive?

I won't pretend to understand how foreign currencies are rated against the dollar. All I know is this is crazy. For those living in Europe, going to America is like visiting Macy's during a White Sale. It sure explains all the foreigners shopping in NY and buying property in Miami Beach. It's cheap!

I'm Lovin' Eurovision

Some is camp. Some is crap. But some is really good. Check out Russia's entry Song Number one by Serebro. It has hints of Shania in her glory days. And it's all in English! So far, this one takes my vote.

Advertising Gone Bad

For some reason, European advertising (especially those products related to doing your laundry) can be a little creepy. First there was the odd little blue man selling Comfort fabric softener in the UK. Now in France there are billboards featuring a 3D, ghost-like blonde girl suprised by her laundry detergent. Even worse, she looks like Heather O'Rourke, the "They're here" girl from Poltergeist. I'm sure the French don't remember "Carol Anne, Carol Anne." But please, come into the light and stop subjecting the general public to frightening images of eerie little people.

Drag Queens from Denmark

It's Monday, so why not feature another crazy entry for this year's 2007 Eurovision contest. (For those of you not following along, Eurovision is an annual competition in which most countries of the EU submit a song to be performed on live TV. Voters then cast their choice for the winner. The semi-finals are held this May 10 with the finals two days later). Today's feature is DQ's Drama Queen - Denmark's winner and official song. It's even performed live! Happy Monday!

Finding a Gym

Now that we "think" we know where we'll be living in Munich, I'm on the hunt for a gym like L'Usine in Paris. I've sent emails to hotels. I've contacted friends of friends. We even had the opportunity to visit a few when we were in Munich last February. What I'm finding isn't good. In fact, I'm a bit worried. It looks like I'll be lifting weights in a Bally's rip-off.

It's called Leo's. And apparently it used to be the best gym in Munich. But from what I saw, it might have been the best five years ago. Now, it has old equipment, too many bright colors and not enough urban pizazz. Even worse, there aren't individual showers. It's one big room just like in high school.

Not that I'm overly shy. I just like my privacy when taking a shower - especially when the trolls make their way to the locker room and stalk you while getting ready. Sure, it's a bit sad when you don't get any attention. That usually means you've passed your expiration date. But there's no need to stand and gawk at others while they shower (glance yes, gawk no).

I'm hoping other options open before I have to commit to one gym vs. another. I'm still waiting to hear back from the Mandarin Hotel on their recommendation (I asked the concierge for the nicest and most expensive gym in Munich hoping they'd steer me in the right direction). If not, it looks like I'll be spending less time at the gym than I do now - in both the weight room and locker room as well. I'll lift then run like hell.

Club Fridays

This week, Club Fridays is all about true Euro dance pop. Not only are the artists from across the pond, the remix teams are as well. So get a head of the curve and take a listen!

Their song From Paris to Berlin was one of the biggest dance records in 2006 (both in Europe and America). They return with another high energy dance single remixed by Holland's Beatfreakz (who recently made their own mark with their cover of Rockewell's Somebody's Watching Me). And true to current Euro dance form, the song samples Depeche Mode's Strangelove. Nothing's ever new. It's just recycled. Link available here.

I'd consider the original versions of Germany's Cascada's hits horrendous (Everytime We Touch for example). But when Thomas Gold, a remixer out of Dusseldorf, gets his hands on their music, he takes them to another level. His electro vibe turns Truly, Madly, Deeply from an annoying trance anthem into pulsating fun. Link available here.

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.

Xenophobe Lesson #2

In preparation for our move to Munich, our friend Francesca recently gave us Xenophobe's Guide to the Germans. It's a book that comedically tries to explain German beliefs to a "Xenophobe" - someone who might have an "irrational fear of foreigners." As the publisher states, "To be forewarned is forearmed." So, over the next 8 weeks, I'll be sharing some interesting tibits from the book.

Xenophobe Lesson #2: In Germany, life is serious (or ernsthaft), and so is everything else. Germans go by the rules. Obedience is the "first duty" and no German has ever doubted it. This fits with their sense of order and duty. Germans hate breaking rules, which can make life difficult. Because as a rule, everything not expressly permitted is prohibited. If you are allowed to smoke or walk on the grass, a sign will inform you of this.

Well, now that explains why nobody crosses the street until the light is green - even if there's not a car around for miles.

I'm Not the Freak

With the weather hovering around 75 degrees, today was the first time I wore shorts. And, as I walked through the city gathering Mariage Fréres tea bags for my friend Joel, I saw maybe five other people doing the same. I did, however, still see winter coats, scarves and the occasional hat. Before I would have been too insecure to pull out the shorts. Now I realize I'm not the freak.

Those Tasty Creations

I'll admit, marketers in Europe really know how to make a good cereal. Not only have they been at the forefront in adding chocolate to the all day treat (which is now making it stateside with Life Chocolate Oat Crunch and Special K Chocolatey Delight), they are consistently innovating.

Take Coco Creations for example. I consider it genius Kellogg's UK found a way to apply the hot marketing concept of personalization to kids' cereal. Classified as a "pick’n’mix cereal," it lets kids create their own breakfast by choosing from four different Coco cereal shapes & sizes including Coco Pops, Crunchers, Coco Rocks or Mega Munchers. If only they make it without sugar or the carbs. I could then enjoy a tasty bowl while watching Sex and the City every night at 11:00.

How Lucky Are We?

Going on two weeks and counting. So while America freezes, Europe enjoys a heatwave! Good thing my work schedule is flexible so I can enjoy afternoon walks along the Seine. My Puerto Vallarta tan needs a booster shot.

The Blame Game

Speaking of processed foods, tonight I had a craving for Kraft Macaroni and Cheese. But instead of using the white, insulin inducing pasta noodles, I substituted whole wheat elbow macaroni. And to make it even healthier, I used low fat milk, no butter and fromage blanc for a burst of added protein. But why do I feel a bit guilty about throwing away what comes in the box? I blame it on my mom. She made me frugal. That's right. It's all her fault.

Lesson Maybe Learned

Apparently it was a good move on my part to end my quest for weight and mass gain. I've been told many times since my journey ended that I "was heavy," that I "looked like a cow," and that "I'm much better now than before." And that's putting it nicely. The French obviously were paying attention and don't mind stating their personal opinions. To top it off, going back to blonde also was beneficial as I'm told it "makes me look younger." So the lesson I think I've learned: be happy with who I am. Which, because I'm gay, is very difficult to accept. We always want more and more and more...

Goodbye Manwich

Tonight was a Manwich night. Chris brought a can back from the states a few weeks back. But what used to be an easy dinner solution back home now tastes odd.

Not only was it loaded with sodium, the tomato paste had a strange flavor - somewhat bitter and a little like dirt. Considering it was the first time we've eaten Manwich in almost two years, I guess our tastes have changed. I'm not saying I'm French refined (because Tuna Helper still hits the spot), but that's one more processed food item that can stay in America and out of my belly.

Eurovision 2007

For starters, what is Eurovision? In short, it's an annual competition in which most countries of the EU submit a song to be performed on live TV. Voters then cast their choice for the winner. The semi-finals are held this May 10 with the finals two days later. Some consider it a joke as last year's winner was monster band Lordi from Finland. Check out France's submission for the semi-finals. The song isn't good, but it's fun to watch all the places in the video - as we see them everyday.

Dirty Feathers

I may have lived in Paris for almost two years, but some oddities are still quite difficult to swallow. Let's take French eggs for example. When you buy them at the market, they're not refrigerated. But that's not the problem. It's what's stuck to the eggs. Nothing says "sanitary" like dirty feathers adhered to your breakfast.

Not Quite Noteworthy - But New!

France is still in vacation mode as today is a national holiday in Paris. But for those of you back to work, consider this my way of saying "happy Monday." Calvin Harris' new song Acceptable in the 80s is pure silliness. If you need a giggle, check out what I consider not quite noteworthy, but new none-the-less.

My New Shopping Mantra

Before moving to Paris, I was most comfortable in an A & F t-shirt and Diesel jeans. I didn’t pay much attention to designer labels such as Alexander McQueen or Neil Barrett. Banana Republic, along with the rest of America, is where I shopped for work. But now my tastes and attitude towards fashion have changed. Rather than fill my closet with mid-priced trends that lose form and function quickly, I’ve converted to the “less is more” mentality. In other words, when shopping, I now buy quality over quantity.

I never really paid much attention to garment construction. If I liked the shirt, I bought the shirt. If the pants were on sale, I liked them even more. But what I realized today as I cleaned out my closet was I had a lot of crap. Sure, I had variety. But the “mélange” of fitted pants, button downs and v-neck sweaters added up to nothing more than a yawnfest.

So what I’ve learned from watching those around me in Paris is to invest in select pieces that I can easily mix and match with other items to create a solid ensemble. It’s not to say I like spending 900€ on a Martin Margiela black jacket. I’m still quite frugal. But knowing it will work with a variety of looks, I feel as though it’s money well spent.

That’s not to say I’ve completely abandoned casual wear from those companies represented in sexy catalogs with a moose as their logo. Their polos and other basic items have a place within my daily routine. But when it comes to representing myself at work or other special events, the high-end nameplates now win every time.

I’m anticipating my new clothes mantra and resulting expenditures to be in-line with what I’ve spent in the past. I’ll spend more but buy less. Which, as an added bonus, should give me more closet space. And because we’re moving to Munich where the Germans don’t build small rooms for hanging clothes, I’ll need all the space I can get.

Instinct Article Online Now

For those of you who were unable to find the March edition of Instinct magazine with the Pink Trash Traveler's article inside, apparently it's online. Who knew? Check it out HERE. Thanks to my cousin Teresa for finding it (because lord knows they don't sell the magazine in Republican filled McPherson County, KS).

Happy Easter

My grandma asked me last night if I was going to church today for Easter. I honestly replied, "Um, no." Not that I'm unreligious, I'm just not a fan singing hymnals.

We are, however, going to the gym. And considering that's the gay man's "church," in some regards, I'm fulfilling my grandma's wishes. It's just I'll be gawking over my new gym hottie with his leg sleeve tatoo rather than Mildred with her Easter Bonnet.

Happy Easter everyone - no matter where you spend it!

The Krazy Life We Lead

We couldn't decide what to eat tonight for dinner. We thought about going out considering it's almost 70 degrees and sunny (ah, Paris in spring). But after trying to select something healthy (since we're venturing out tomorrow night to our favorite Italian bistro), we opted to stay in and eat Tuna Helper. Sure, it may be loaded with sodium, but it's low in fat and fairly decent in carbs. And by adding sweet peas, we balance it out with some vegetables. You can take the boy out of Kansas but...

Still Clueless

You'd think after living in Paris for almost two years I'd know when to kiss to say hello and when a handshake will do. I still make mistakes.

Like today, for example, when I said hello to a woman who works for our gym. She was walking with another man who works there as well. Because the weather is so nice, and I was in a good mood, I reached in, kissed her on both cheeks, then repeated with her male co-worker. I then did the same to another male trainer once we got inside. I may see the men everyday, but I don't think you're supposed to kiss men on both cheeks unless they're part of the "family." Otherwise, a firm handshake is all it takes.

So once I left, I begin to stress about my inappropriate hello. I'm hoping the men don't care (not only because I kissed them but that I might have implied they're gay). They're probably thinking, "That crazy American." At least we leave soon. But until then, I'll have to make sure I say hello from across the gym or in passing with my headphones on.

Club Fridays

It's been a good week on PTT for Therese. She was featured in New & Noteworthy a few days back, in another post with her collaboration with the Attic and now on Club Fridays. Sometimes you just deserve the attention. The first mix of Feelin' Me mixed by Digital Dog retains much of the original with its 80s inspired synthesizers. Click here to download. The second mix by Thomas Gold is for lovers of electro. Link available here.

The second single this week, Offer Nissim's For Your Love featuring Maya, won't appeal to everyone. The Peter Rauhofer mix is dark. It's sexy. It's hot. Click here to download. The original version keeps Offers "progressive house" vibe in place along with most of the vocals. Both are excellent. Link available here.

All Hail the Queen

The Swedes obviously don't know how to pick a winner for their entry into the annual Eurovision song contest (other than Abba that is). This year, a great song by The Attic featuring Therese (now I can see why she's the Queen of Dance Mafia - she's everywhere!) only mustered 7th place in Sweden's music fest. They need to get their ears cleaned. The Arrival is one fine piece of Euro pop. Check it out below.

Paris in Spring

Today was the first true day of Spring in Paris. The wind didn't have a bite. The chill was gone - replaced with plenty of sunshine. And as I walked to the open market for a rotisserie chicken for dinner, I started to absorb the sights and sounds of Paris even more than before. Because knowing it's gone in 7 weeks, I realized what I see now is something I'll most likely appreciate once we're gone.

Sure, I have my complaints. People can be bitter and negative. The streets, at times, are dirty. The restaurants usually are smoky. But when you're walking through the park, with the bells of St. Eustache chiming behind you, and people are laughing while they sip a coffee at the corner café, the spring like vibe in the air washes away the negative energy.

So over the next few days, I'm going to try and enjoy the 70 degree weather and resulting jovial spirit the city displays. That is, unless, the streets become filled with protestors from the presidential races. In that case, I'll remember back to today when I had a chicken in hand and a smile on my face.

New & Noteworthy - Therese

She's apparently "The Queen of the Swedish Dance Mafia." Who knew they had one? Are they more powerful than the "Gay Mafia?" Either way, she comes out swinging with Feelin' Me - a ditty of a dance song sure to hit big in Europe but barely make a blip in America. Look for the remix to be featured this week on Club Fridays.

Destination Manifestation

Looks like the French presidential race is getting nasty. Two words: big surprise.

Vomit Patrol

My job as “House Manager” is never done. Sure, I don’t have to clean that often with Alyse coming every Tuesday and Saturday. But lately, I’ve been on “vomit patrol.”

For some reason, both Maddie and Dennis have been regurgitating items for me to find. They leave everything from piles of undigested food to hairballs on carpets throughout the flat. In some cases, I catch them in mid-process – allowing me to move them to a safety zone that’s easy to clean. Even so, there’s nothing pleasant about holding down a cat as he projects hairballs across the room.

I’m not sure what will happen when I’m not around the house full-time. We’ll have to either confine them to rooms without expensive floor coverings or wrap everything in plastic. If anything, it’s made me reconsider expanding our family to include another puppy. Vomit is bad enough. I don’t even want to think about training again and having to clean up what comes out the other end when you’re not looking.

"Ah Jeez and a Eeeh Gah!?"

As Aunt Linda from SNL would say, "Whaaaaaaaaaaaaat?" The landlord of our 3rd choice flat in Munich apparently wants a four year contract. At this rate, we'll be living in a box by June 1st. Well, if not in a box, at least out of them until we find a home.

Xenophobe Lesson #1

In preparation for our move to Munich, our friend Francesca recently gave us Xenophobe's Guide to the Germans. It's a book that comedically tries to explain German beliefs to a "Xenophobe" - someone who might have an "irrational fear of foreigners." As the publisher states, "To be forewarned is forearmed." So, over the next 8 weeks, I'll be sharing some interesting tibits from the book.

Xenophobe Lesson #1: The population of the reunified Germans is 82 million compared with 5 million Danes, 7 million Swiss, 8 million Austrians, 10 million Czechs, 10 million Belgians, 15 million Dutch, 38 million Poles, 50 million English, 58 million French and around 300 million Americans.

So Many Questions

After watching the movie Ray last night, I began wondering, “What’s my gift? And "Do we all have something special to offer the world?” Because after seeing how creative and musically gifted Ray Charles was, it made me question why I’m here and what I should be doing with my life.

The problem is I’ve been trying to answer these questions for years. I believe we all have some kind of purpose within the general framework of mankind. But how do you identify what yours should be – ensuring you don’t let it slip by without notice?

I’ve read books like The Seat of Your Soul. Oprah got me started on that one. It didn’t really help. It made me ponder a few things, but four years later, I’m still asking myself the same questions.

Chris tells me my purpose might be something small – like to motivate others. For example, when I was taking my personal fitness exam a few years back, I helped a fellow test taker through some personal discoveries of why he wanted to train others. And numerous times I’ve given advice to others on who, what, when, where, why and how they should move forward through this journey we call life. With all that being said, I feel as though my purpose is more grand in nature.

At times, I wish I didn’t care. So many people are happy with where they are and don’t consider anything different. They go to work. They come home. They go to bed. They get up the next day and start the process all over again. I’m sure my grandmother’s never questioned her purpose in life – it was to raise her family. That’s not enough for me. And considering I don’t have children, it’s a good thing I’m moving on to Plan B.

But what will help me to realize my potential? What will give me the insights I need to either continue down my path or quickly alter my course? Will fate deal me a hand or must I source my own full house? This might be why I never sleep.