Sunday, July 21

I try to see the end of the Tour de France bicycle race.

Champagne headache this morning. Back to work. Vocabulary drills and writing assignment all day. Finish of the Tour de France bicycle race tonight.

I've been very careful about dehydration since a bad experience a few weeks ago. I always remember to drink plenty of fluids when I'm out in the hot sun. But I've noticed that my tolerance for even moderate amounts of alcohol has decreased as I age. It wasn't that bad at all this morning, just a bit of a headache that an aspirin cured rather quickly.

I could be spending the summer up in northern Minnesota or the UP in a cabin on a lake, spending each day in a boat with some beers and a fishing pole. But no, I had to come to Paris and take an impossible French class at the Sorbonne instead. How dumb is that?

Versailles today is described as "a wealthy suburb of Paris". I'd say so based on my walking around. It's about 11 miles west-southwest from the center of Paris. Only 11 miles - around here that's called an "easy walk".

All done with homework except for final copying of letter from computer to pen-and-paper (how old fashioned!).

Well that's cool - tonight is the finish of the 100th Tour de France. Drugged or not, that's kind of special. Think I'll walk over around 8 and see if I can find a good spot along the Champs Élysées.

I was asked how much wine costs in France. Lowest I've seen is about 3-4 euros. I usually spend 15-20. There is no upper bound as far as I know.

Finished first draft of job application cover letter. Turns out the assignment is to write one for an internship (un stage). I think I'm overqualified.

In my job application homework assignment, I had to make up someone to address the letter to. So I used the name of an old friend who in the 90s translated a bunch of my software into French, Jean-Pierre Kuypers. I promoted him to "director of software development, Apple France". I wonder if he would be pleased? I've never actually met Jean-Pierre, despite having worked with him quite closely back in the old days. I believe he lives in Belgium now. Or maybe we met at an Apple world-wide developer's conference once? It's impossible to remember back that far.

Writing this letter has brought back memories. I remember spending time with a bunch of French programmers at the MacHack conference in Ann Arbor one year who all worked on BeOS for Jean-Louis Gassée. They knew quite well that BeOS had no future commercially, but they were having such a blast writing a cool new operating system from scratch that they just didn't care. One of them told me that he was so obsessed over the project that it caused his divorce. Those guys? Well, I wouldn't mind at all working with their kind here in Paris!

Having been informed quite sternly that it is a crime, a crime I tell you, to drink champagne with camembert, I'm trying to redeem myself. The problem is that it's 3:30 on a Sunday afternoon here, and almost all the shops are closed, including La Fontaine au Vins and the other local marchands du vin, Franprix, and Carrefour. But I finally found a bottle at my corner convenience store, a cheap (10,80€) bottle of Bordeaux Haut-Médoc, Chateau Tour Bellevue 2010. This is probably no good either, for reasons quite opaque to yours truly, but I'll drink it anyway.

At least, as you can tell from the picture, I did not put the camembert in the refrigerator. In fact, it's quite hot today, and it has gotten all gooey and runny all over the plate.

Just took a few sips of the wine. Not all that great, but drinkable.

Went to watch the Tour de France on rue de Rivoli, watched them go past three times, got bored, came home. Had to the climb the side of a building and stand on tiptoe on the top of a barricade to see over the crowd, and even then I could barely see anything. Not worth the trip. If you look closely at the crowd scene in this picture, you can just make out the peloton going past.

I read that after the award ceremony the cyclists ride around and mingle with the crowd and if you're a lucky fan you can even talk to your favorite rider. And there was a light show that sounded nice. But there were just way too many people.