The last one date

Today is a special day in the story of my life: 4 years ago today, I went sailing in the New York harbor with a guy I had met only once, 4 weeks before and by the end of that sailing trip, I decided it would not be our last date. Luckily for me, he had come to the same conclusion (note: 4 hours solid on a boat with someone you don't know can understandably raise anxiety in some individuals, but one has to take risks if you ask me - and the New York harbor's view from a sailboat is well worth it ;).

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Tasty question

Hey New Yorkers! It is steamy hot in NYC BUT it is restaurant week! So how about a cocktail and a 3 course dinner for $40 in a properly cooled off and fancy restaurant?

I must admit being a big fan of restaurant week and try to go at least to 3 different restaurants during the 2 weeks it lasts, regardless of the season. But comes the question: what to eat? 

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13 Tips for eloping in the city you live in

My husband and I have both left Germany and France, our respective countries over 10 years ago. So when we decided to get married earlier this year, it was rather obvious to us to tie the knot in the city we met and call home: Brooklyn. Besides, between our two countries, picking one over the other would have been a fairly political decision that would not have been fair on any family.

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Same, same, but different.

Most decisions will affect our lives, short or long term - on the latter: picking a subject at university, doing one more year of studying, accepting a first job, starting a family etc. Interestingly enough, in my early twenties, I was probably not mature enough to measure all the consequences of these important decisions and at times, made rather poor choices - and if not poor, irrationalBut out of all those decisions, I made an unusual one, compared to most of my counterparts back then: I decided to leave Paris and move to London. Yesterday was actually the 10th anniversary of that move - the 10th anniversary of what I consider being the best decision I ever made. 

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Cough Cough

Did I already complain about inefficient targeted ads? I think I did, yes. Yet, another one today. Not precisely about the advertisement itself but about a new product in particular that I do not really know what to think of (or know too well). 

Where did I see it? Facebook obviously. This unfortunate network where I hardly ever post anything has too few information about me that the ads sold for my lovely attention are downright boring and inefficient. As I am a white women of 33 years old (yes, skin color matters to marketers apparently), living in NY, and quite possibly in a relationship (in spite of a lack of official info on the latter, they can see pictures of me with the same guy over and over again), the ads I get are the most generic possible: clothes, jewelry, home design - engagement rings on occasion. 

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Geolocalize me

Working in advertisement means you very often get to check out brands you probably never would because of your job. While checking a client's website is the basic of meeting prep, when working in marketing, the brand your clients want you to work on can be ANYTHING: from men's grooming products to computer microchips, from organic pet food to an international airline. Where I want to go in this is how consequently, my newsfeed and other targeted marketing such as banners I see when opening up my Facebook page tend to be a mixture of all of these – and mostly of things I do not care about in my personal life. And this is when I start wondering how geolocation and data gathering strategies are working. 

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Aurelie DesmasComment
Philo 2014

Something I like to share and discuss with my counterparts - the philosophy subjects of the Baccalauréat. This exam the majority French people have at around 18 years old is actually mandatory to enter University. Depending of your preferences and abilities, you can choose between 3 domains of speciality that you will get deeper into during the year: sciences, literature or economics and social sciences. But as regardless of the specialty, everyone has to work on every discipline (for instance I did sciences but still had French, History, Geography, English, philosophy etc), the kick off of this week-long exam on the Monday morning (this morning) is common to everyone: philosophy.

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Hard or soft

Quick note about an on-going debate that I find - as a non-native English speaker - rather fascinating and questioning: the whole gif or gif pronunciation debate (with soft or hard G).

Not being bilingual, I obviously searched the sources of pronunciation rules and guidelines in English and it seems that the logical pronunciation should be the 'soft' one, to mirror words such as ginger, or giraffe. But then, what about give, geek, gum or graphic, first word of this acronym? It seems that utilizing the hard G when the letter in question comes prior a vowel is a heritage of the German language - the verb give coming from the German term geben.  Fair enough.

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Size matters

As any visitor will tell you when travelling through the USA, the proportion of overweight people is indeed higher in North America that in Europe. When taking a closer look, one may easily realize that the food industry lobby paired up with the pharmaceutical one both combine efforts towards that goal. As in spite of the newly recent trend named 'orthorexia' (the obsession of 'healthy eating'), what remains mostly available at an affordable price food-wise here is cheap and fat - easy and even cheaper to produce, which will get us to purchase all sorts of stomach remedies, weight loss pills and so forth afterwards - the correlation between the two being very often overlooked.

Taking the food industry only and the example of the most famous item of the American cuisine, ketchup - there is obviously a rather cunning tendency in the US to sweeten everything. Reading the labels of a can of tomatoes soup for instance, makes me instantly feel like having a sugar rush or needing a good insuline shot while I am not diabetic (to give you an idea, the Wahrolian tomatoe soup has the equivalent of 8 packets of sugar in the whole can).

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Unheimlich

Over the Holidays (I have now switched officially to the American expression), I travelled back to France for the well-celebrated Christmas (as in Europe we are not afraid of being non-politically-correct).

When coming back, especially as it has been 2 years since my last trip to Motherland, I inevitably got the question: How was it? 

When I was in the plane to Paris, I finished a book called 'Limonov' by Emmanuel Carrère (excellent book by the way that I unfortunately cannot find in English on Amazon). Limonov happens to be a real person, Russian-born writer (amongst many other things) who has travelled across the world. At some stage during his biography, the German term 'Unheimlich' comes in. I remember thinking about it for a while afterwards and then forgot. But when I was first asked after landing back in NYC - How was it? - 'Unheimlich' was then the first word that came to my mind. 

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Chocolate

Like everyone as a child, I was contemplating and longing for the time I would be a grown-up - what I would do, wear, etc. For some reasons, drinking chocolate milk at age 32 was not quiet part of the picture - and yet, I must admit having a little bit of a sweet tooth for this reassuring beverage.

While discussing this with some co-workers today, I realized I was actually a bit of an exception. But maybe not so much. The reason why I think that is that last winter, I remember one morning having stopped by a drugstore to purchase one of these mini-bottles of ready-made chocolate milk to happily sip on my way to work. Right outside the store, as I was waiting for the little man to turn green and cross the street, I looked around without thinking and realized the very well-dressed gentleman standing next to me - also in his late 20's, early 30's was holding the very same bottle. I remember smiling at this funny coincidence and cannot remember if indeed he noticed it as well.

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Aquatic Note

The advantage of living with a sailor is that from a linguistic prospective, it extends quite dramatically someone's vocabulary. Indeed the maritime vocabulary is as extensive as the deepest ocean (speaking of which, I am not too sure which one it would be) and tends to be rather poetic.

Recently we were watching a documentary about the Vendée Globe where one of the French sailors mentioned 'arriver dans les 40èmes'. Being brought up near the sea and being a linguist myself, the term '40èmes' rung a bell as it refers to the full and pretty expression of '40èmes rugissants'. I obviously could not help check out the equivalent in English which happens to be the exact same expression 'Roaring Forties' and moving even further South (as the reference is valid mainly for the Southern Hemisphere) become the 'Furious Fifties' - while the French equivalent is 'Hurling Fifties' with the expression '50èmes Hurlants'. 

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Aurelie Desmas Comment
Drops

Very anecdotic post today as I got finally time to write again. 

Over the course of my first summer in NYC - I remember having noticed something rather unusual that seems to disappear as years go by - water drops when entering places, shops and other buildings - even when the sky looks and is effectively dry.

As soon as the summer starts in the Big Apple, Air Conditioning units come back at full-speed to refresh heated New Yorkers who tend to dislike heat as much as cold. As everyone knows, the US is not an example of 'Green attitude' and one can see blossoming throughout the city, window AC that while they cool down people's interiors, happily discharge the energy and heat spent in the already warm streets. As any form of engine, it produces water that also need to be evacuated. New units available seem to maintain a pretty efficient way to do so - but that rather delicate system turns out to be the first one to display signs of wear and tear and release water quiet early on in the life cycle of an AC unit. 

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Leibster Awarded

While I was planning to write something about my recent trip, I realized when I logged in a dear friend of mine -  also blogger Mark Lord - http://marktedlord.wordpress.com/ -  tagged me on a post for a Leibster Award. Not a fancy physical award but rather a online viral blogging award, that exists since 2010 and that may help bringing traffic (or not, but after all I do not care that much). Below are the details to get it together - and more so, thank you very much Mark for your continuous support throughout all these years I have been lucky to have you as a friend.

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Biblicalism

As part of the Passover and Holy Week - which this year happened on a joyful full moon bringing us Spring weather, a little note related to the industry I work in (for once).

The country I come from happens to be the 'test' market when it comes to literature translation as Frenchies are apparently the most avid readers in Europe - in other words, if a translated book is successful in France, then it means it is worth giving it a try and get it translated in other languages, including English. 

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Spoony

A rather light post today as I finished my Spring cleaning. Every year, I must admit being rather astonished by the rather cheeky behavior of spoons. Whether at work or at home, one must admit this little appliances have something somewhat somewhere the cunning tendency to disappear God knows where. Magic tricks? Taste for adventure and travel?  In spite of living by myself yet I cannot possibly explain why every year, when doing my yearly cleaning, I discover a few of then are missing. In our world of disposable goods, I would imagine that spoon's weight being rather light and tiny, one can easily confuse them with a plastic version and throw it in the bin by mistake. Thing is, I never order in and I don't think a plastic spoon ever made it in my kitchen. 

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Make Some Noise (Part II)

I reckon each human being has its own library of sounds, voices and other noises that reminds oneself of particular people, events, places (like in fact any type of memory really). As a matter of fact, there is probably nobody in the world who can pretend to know the full range of voice and noises someone else can make as for instance a parent will never know the sound their own child make when experiencing a climax (Thank God... And vice versa) or a lover will never know what was the sound of the voice of their lovers as a child (and vice versa here again).

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Drive and Play

As we all know, Google provides translation services to help people find the right words in languages they don't understand. For having all tried once to get website content automatically translated by Google using the tempting link  'translate this page', we all know this technology remains for now a little limited. And there is somewhat a reassuring reason behind it: the human sensibility required to communicate cannot be fully monitored by any machinery, not even the most advanced computer and/or AI system.

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