Tuesday, May 28, 2002

Sugar and Spice, Everything Nice

So where have I been? Well, we did hit Monaco a week or so ago. The Grand Prix was going on, so as you might imagine, it was quite the zoo. It was the historical Grand Prix, so it was all of these old-fashioned cars, which was quite fun to watch, especially since I really knew nothing about the Grand Prix. I also gambled at Monte Carle - $10 on the slot machine. Yes, I'm on a serious budget and if you've ever played slot machines, these are very addictive. Anyway, I won $26 so that was nice - making a profit of $6 as they charged us $10 to enter the casino in the first place (btw, the Euro is approximately equal to the dollar). We also saw the homes of Princesses Caroline and Stephanie. Unfortunately, the angle and trees made it impossible to take a good picture, so I actually have a picture of the gardens en face, and you can see a bit of Princess Stephanie's home right behind the trees. At any rate, I believe Princess Caroline was home, as the garage door was open and there was a car in there with Hanover plates (her husband is the Prince of Hanover). Anyway, Monaco is very clean, very nice - I loved the train station. It's all dug through a mountain, as Monaco is less than one mile wide and about 2 miles long. But for being a subterannean train station, it was very elegant and of course, very rich looking. Also saw the changing of the guard in front of the Palace - though it wasn't with quite the pomp and circumstance of the changing of the guard in Londres, but it was still very cool.

Let's see... I also went to Cannes and no, I didn't see anyone famous, though I did indulge in some gratuitous stargazing - climbing up a fence in a skirt no less! Yes, that moment was immortalized on film because it was just so un-Seema. However, some other people who went on Friday evneing to Cannes actually saw Sandra Bullock. We saw some famous French actress, up close and personal, but alas, it was lost on us. I thought I'd throw out that the Cannes sovenier beach towel costs $57. Yes, you read that correctly - but it's a way cool logo though. And oh yes, the red carpet is very cool, even if you don't know who the heck is walking up the stairs. The other thing that is neat about Cannes is the way the crowd moves - it's like an undulating wave. There's a rumour that so and so is somewhere and the whole gaggle of people just go and run. So it's very strange and neat at the same time. People watchers will definitely have a blast.

Also checked out St. Paul de Vence this past weekend, which is a lovely little medieval village with a artistic bent. The pathways are very narrow and for the most part, the city walls are all intact. It's just very interesting and very quaint. Plus we indulged in crepes. Crepes with nutella. Yum. The view from St. Paul de Vence was very nice, especially since it's heading into the Alps, so we saw a lot of uniquely Mediterannean architecture, not to mention the step farming. Also enjoyed the profusion of flowers everywhere - the colors here seem so vibrant and alive, it's amazingly beautiful. And oh yes, cobble stone paths - but with actual design in the paths, so that's very neat to look at. Highly recommended town for those of you who may be in this area. Gorgeous.

Another stop was Gourdon, which is a hilltop village - and I think hilltop is an understatement. It's actually a mountain top. Way, way, way up there. I was sleeping in the bus and opened my eyes at just the moment when our bus driver, 'Crash', zipped crasily up the side of the mountain, not to mention the incredibly steep drop directly to our right. We all nearly had a heart attack on the spot, it was so high up. Anyway, this little village was another medieval one, complete with walls etc and given that it was directly on top of an Alp, it had a very dramatic view. We could see the surrounding mountains as well as the Mediterannean and Nice and Cannes. So it was quite nice up there, as long as you didn't look too far down. This type of village is very common in Southern France as the coastline was prey to invaders, so our intrepid settlers decided to hike to the highest possible place and build their lives there. But very intriguing, very beautiful - another must-see. Very similar to the city of Eze, if you have heard of that one.

As for 'Crash' - he is our stomach churning bus driver. To him, roads are an inconvenience. He likes nothing better than to blaze his own path, preferably with us in the bus. We cannot look anymore, it is so scary.He also likes to go fast and didn't quite understand why we objected to the speed with which he was a) climbing the mountain or b) the speed with which he was coming down. Nor does the bus driver care about what happens to the muffler or anything else on the underside of the bus - so we have a lot of scraping, which is interesting, to say the least. He just grins and smirks behind his way too cool sunglasses. We're not sure what we will do without 'Crash' or the N4- which is the night bus here. You haven't experience pure transportation fear until you've been on the N4, which barrels through the narrow streets and double-parked cars without care. It's very interesting, not to mention a slightly suicidal experience.

Tomorrow, we head to Barcelona and then to Madrid. I have never been to Spain - have been to all these other places I've talked about so far - so I'm very excited about this propspect. The weather, according to CNN (our only English media here), the weather should be fantastic.

Friday, May 17, 2002

Thanks to lovely and clever people, we have figured out how to convert the keyboards from en francais to en anglais. So, here is my travel journal of sorts.

I'm in Nice, France, on the French Riviera. I think Italy is nearby - no, I know Italy is not too far from here - the influence is very obvious. This is some of the best Italian food I've had in years, and yes, we have been eating a lot. I love the pizza - it's New York style, or rather, it's 'real' pizza, with a thin, crispy crust and a very fresh, light tomato sauce and le fromage, c'est tres bon! We had a wine and cheese-tasting party the other night - twelve different kinds of cheeses and three different kinds of wine. It was really, well, a treat for the palette. I now know that Baby Bel is not the best that France has to offer in terms of cheese.

Today, some of us went out to lie on the beach during our lunch hour. The beaches here, btw, are not sand, but rather rock. The water is absolutely gorgeous - a lovely aquamarine near the shore and darker as you go out. The horizon is endless and the weather has been perfect. Last night, we walked alone le promenande des anglais and it was absolutely perfect weather and view. Imagine the lights against the darkness of the night sky in a half- moon shape. Beautiful.

We have been having interesting experiences with bus travel here. They are quite mad, these bus drivers. Yesterday, we rode the Bus of Death and then saw the Tour Bus of Death - they seem to have no regard for ancient streets which are narrow to begin with and then have double-parked cars on both sides. And here goes the bus, all crazy down the street. I thought I was going to fall out of my seat with the violence that the bus driver inflicted on us.

My French is improving rapidly. I was able to carry on a full conversation with a street painter yesterday and obtain directions to his gallerie in St Paul-Vence. So I'm very pleased. Of course, this means I am constantly translating and speaking for the group and as a result, my English sometimes gets a little mixed up - funny how that happens in just the span of two weeks. Of course, it didn't help that we were talking roundabout when we were trying to figure out how to type on these keyboards.

We're going to Monaco on Saturday and Corsica for Sunday and Monday. Tuesday, back in boring old Nice ;-) I'll be sure to tell you how those trips go. a bientot!

Tuesday, May 14, 2002

Greetings from the Riviera...

So far, a great trip. I have been to Munich, Salzburg and now Nice. The water is beautiful. I would write more but typing is almost impossible on these strange keyboards. And oh yes, I do not know about the brouhaha on ASC or why Victoria and Jemima have declared war on each other, but I am Being Like LizB - also Switzerland. Dang it, people, why did you go and get all exciting when I could no longer respond....

Now, off to search for the question mark...

Saturday, May 04, 2002

This and That

Right, so I'm about 26 hours away from departure and I still haven't started packing. I'm actually at work. On a lovely Saturday afternoon. Fixing problems. Something with a cookie going bad on a website, causing all sorts of strange things to show up on the other end. So new cookie has been 'baked' and amazingly, the process was pretty painless. But, I still have to pack. Some of you know that I have very strong feelings about packing.

Anyway, conversation with my mother. Honest conversation.

Me: I won Best Author for the Trek awards
Mom: Congratulations. That's great.
Me: I'm really excited. I can't believe it.
Mom: What do you get?
Me: Just recognition.
Mom: Can you put it on your resume?
Me: Uh?
Mom: If you won an award, you should put it on your resume
Me: This isn't like that Journalism award I got. This is the Trek stuff.
Mom: I know, but you should put it on your resume.
Me: People will think it's weird.
Mom: What?
Me: The Trek thing.
Mom: Why is it weird?

So there you have it. My mother, a genuine Real Person, doesn't seem to think that the Trek fanfic thing is Weird. I'll keep you posted on whether I actually put this stuff on my resume ;-)

I also have a copy of my first zine ever. It's an Odo/Kira zine called Love and Justice and my story Unrequited is featured in it, along with stories from people like August, Judith Medina (OdoGoddess) and Cecy Pelz. It's very cool - 200 pages of O/K fic that I haven't read. Very nice. To go along with the 500 pages of fanfic I've already printed out for reading material on the plane.

Friday, May 03, 2002


Did you hear that, Rocky? :-)

Wednesday, May 01, 2002

ASC Awards

The Section 31 gang rocked!!! Lori proved once again that she is TNG. Jemima is so the queen of AU with "The Museum" (What? You haven't read it?), Rocky is the Janeway and Tuvok scholar, and Liz Barr proves that you can be short, sweet, and witty, and Christine's poetics were worthy of mention again. Thanks so much to all of you who voted for me - it's much appreciated. My gratitude also my wonderful beta readers - Rocky and Liz - and also for being terrific friends as well. Also, mucho gracias to Bjorn, who made Voyager possible for me last year. My congratulations also to the Section 31 gang and also to the Mod Squad for making ASC just so much fun and such a vibrant and creative place - where you feel you need to do better, simply because the quality of the company is so terrific. My placements, for those of you who may be interested:

Next Generation General Story

R21 The Season in Between by Seema
R29 Whatever It Takes: Vignettes from the Life of a Section 31 Operative by
Penny A. Proctor
R11 Imperfection by Ventura33

Deep Space Nine General Story

V4 All Things (1/2) by Seema
V7 Triage by Paula Stiles
V20 Closure 1/3 by Una McCormack

Deep Space Nine General Pairing

X24 Before This Mission... I Was Taller. by Gayle Rochefort-Potts
X25 When on Risa... by Seema
X15 Only In The Dark by OdoGoddess

Chakotay Pairing

B3 Not That Kind by Seema
B9 Trying to Forget by Liz Barr
B2 Just Plain Mean by monkee

Janeway Chakotay

L7 Beneath a Sky of a Thousand Stars by Seema
L3 Antarian Cider and Black Nail Polish by monkee
L18 Erosion by Seema

Voyager Other Episode Codas

R14 Stay by Seema
R11 Mistress of War by Alara Rogers
R15 A Steady Heart by Julie Evans

Voyager Single Person

V2 Among Bluebonnets by Seema
V3 Blue Skies by Rocky
V23 Waiting by Annie M

Combined Trek Series

W18 Nice Work ... Seema
W16 Much a-Q About Nothing ... Ellen Fremedon
W7 Chocolates and Silk ... Victoria Meredith

The Alara Rogers Award for Best Author

A127 Seema
A102 Penny Proctor aka EJ Andrews
A93 monkee