bastille day (and the stanford weather machine theory)

14 juillet, known as the Fête nationale, celebrates the storming of the Bastille prison (which no longer exists, but you’ll see a bunch of tourists at place de la Bastille looking for it anyway), and the death of maybe a hundred people, one of whom had his head sawed off and impaled on a stick. This is what happens when you piss Parisians off.

Anyway, on Bastille Day the president is paraded down the Champs-Elysées and there’s a free 7pm concert on the Champ de Mars overlooking the Eiffel Tower, full of big names and young girls who’ve camped out there in the blazing sun since noon waiting for Tokio Hotel. Trains and buses within a mile or two of the Eiffel Tower are curiously shut down after the concert starts, preventing Metro stops from being super-populated terrorist targets and forcing fat American tourists to walk for the first time in their lives. The concert is followed by fireworks in front of the Eiffel Tower, for those who didn’t have to be carried out of the mob on the Champ de Mars by the Red Cross after collapsing from heat exhaustion.

I think Paris borrowed Stanford’s weather machine last weekend, because it’s been raining for the past three weeks and has begun to rain again today, but on Saturday it couldn’t have been sunnier or more beautiful.

(For those of you unfamiliar with the Stanford weather machine, it is a theory that some Stanford students affectionately use to explain why the weather at Stanford is gorgeous for visiting high schoolers in the spring and incoming freshmen in the fall, but is complete crap between the months of November to March.

There is speculation that Stanford University owns a machine– a weather machine, if you will– that somehow dissipates all rain clouds during the end of spring, the beginning of fall, and all of summer. Any bouts of rain are therefore explained by either the weather machine being decommissioned for repairs, or the weather machine being on loan to a particularly wealthy city.)

So it’s complete crap again today, and I have to go to the Surcouf on the other side of town to buy a new Powerbook G4 adapter to replace the one I lost in Liverpool. I have no idea why it’s still so expensive– aren’t Powerbooks old models already? Can’t I get a price break here? Since when did Apple become so evil?

I’m sorry that these post-May posts have been completely useless and uninformative. I blame it on my power-less computer. I promise that my next post will somehow involve tips on surviving Paris in the summer and how to not die of boredom when you live at the top of a seven-floor walk-up with virtually no computer. Oh, and pictures.


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This is a blog of things place-related, by a cash-strapped Stanford grad who's lived in various places and writes about life. She's currently looking for a job in Manhattan or the Bay Area.

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