More congrats!

First, Official VM just-about-closest-friend-in-the-world Ian gets his chief petty officer pin, and now he goes off and pops the question to his One True Love! Much congratulations are in order! Go, Ian!

In additional friends-of-VM news, my buddy Faiz reveals the true reason he couldn’t meet up with me & Amy in Paris: he and his wife are expecting their first kid! (And Paris is evidently inimical to developing life!) Also, I’ve been insanely remiss in not mentioning Faiz’s first children’s book, My Alien Penfriend! Go, Faiz!

That’s the extent of the super-wonderful news. In not-so-wonderful news, it looks like I’ve got an upper respiratory infection, so I’ve got some antibiotics working on that. Go, azithromycin!

Flight Delay

I corresponded today with one of the exhibitors from last week’s Paris conference. He wrote, “I hope that you had a safe flight back. We were stuck outside the terminal for over an hour because of a unattended bag, which they blew up outside the terminal. Besides that we had an easy flight home.”

I replied, “Did you get to see the bag get blown up, at least? That would’ve helped mitigate the delay a little bit.”

Alas, no: “Unfortunately I did not get to see the bag get blown up, but I did get to see the remnants. They just dumped the contents on the sidewalk: some clothes, lots of rice, and spices.”

* * *

It reminds me of the baggage carousel when we got back to Newark. Some luggage came out, but there was also a small pile of panties rolling along. I said, “Wow! Did someone get raped in the cargo hold?!”

It had been a long day.


In safe and sound, after a 75-minute delay in CDG because of problems with the hydraulics! Customs snagged our sausages, which we bought in duty-free as gifts for our fathers. This peeved me to no end. Amy was already peeved when the second security point at CDG took her jars of mustard and jelly from her carryon (we didn’t want to risk them breaking in the checked-in bags).

Anyway, I’m rolling down the street to grab us a pizza. Maybe we’ll watch baseball and be all American. Even though my Yankees got knocked out in the first round of the playoffs today. Grr.

Fauxhawk Friday

Well, Amy said that on Fauxhawk Friday, Musee D’Orsay offers free admission, and I fell for it.

They charged for admission, but it was all worth it. Orsay’s a fantastic museum, between the collection and the crazy vibe of an antiquated vision of the future. (In a sense, I suppose that grotesque Centre Du Pompidou provides another of those visions, but it appears to be one circa 1975, a period that should just be avoided.)

Anyway, we both posted our new pix to our flickr photosets (hers and mine). They’ll likely be the last pix from this trip, since it’s raining cats and dogs outside, and we’re heading out tomorrow.

Fortunately, we got a bunch of shopping done today. I wasn’t able to find great stuff for everyone in my life, but we both found some pretty neat gifts (and some nice treats for ourselves).

How we’re gonna pack all this stuff, I have no idea. Thanks for checking in on these posts. I know I haven’t gone off and posted 2,000-word rants on “Paris & Yesterday’s Tomorrows” or anything, but I did receive some illuminations during the trip, which I hope to share with you, dear readers.

Fill? Finish!

Finished the exhibition today. Had some ideas for articles and got great input from some of our clients about trends in certain fields of business (the changing market of fill/finish services for vaccine products, for one thing). Also, one client pointed out a very bizarre “separated at birth” involving my “From the Editor” headshot. He promises to send me the other person’s photo; I’ll post about it when he takes care of that.

Around 1pm, the last of our freebie-magazines was gone, and I was ready to head back to Paris (3 hours before the official end of the show, but them’s the breaks; the last day of a show like this tends to be pretty quiet). I had some trepidation about getting on the RER train back to the city, after the morning’s adventure.

The trains in Paris are flat-out unpredictable. At the RER platform in St. Michel, there’s a sign with all of the RER stops on it. A lightbulb is illuminated for each stop that the upcoming train is going to make. If “Parc D’Expositions” isn’t lighted up, don’t get on the train. No problem.

Well, a few people told me during the show that they had followed that guide, and were still surprised to find their train zooming past the Parc stop, and on to Charles De Gaulle Airport. I figured they had just slipped up.

This morning, I got onto what was the right line. The train stopped at Gare Du Nord, an announcement was made in French, and almost everyone got off the train. I asked an english-speaker what was up. She said, “This train will go no further than Aulnay-sous Bois. We have to wait for two trains after this one.”

And she was right. Arbitrarily, the train’s stops had been changed after boarding. So we waited, along with two more train-loads of arrivals to the platform, and crammed onto the appropriate train. It was ugly, not least because so many of my fellow sardines are French.

But the ride home was quite easy, since it was mid-day and not a lot of attendees and exhibitors were riding. I got back to the room before Amy, who was out sightseeing (pictures tomorrow), and compiled a couple of Unrequired Reading items, because I’m a devoted Virtual Memoirist, and I always take care of my readers.

After she got back, we headed out to the Rodin museum, which I missed last time I was here (pictures tomorrow). I’d never really checked out Rodin’s work before, so I was struck by the bulkiness of a lot of his forms. The “bigfoot” expressionism of his figures was at odds with the airiness of the garden setting. But I’m gonna complain?

Tomorrow, weather permitting, we’ll take a mini-tour of Versailles, and get to Orsay (which I also missed during that 2002 visit) in the afternoon. If it rains, as is likely, then it’s Orsay in the morning and panicked present-buying and postcard-writing during the day. And uploading of pictures. I promise.

Always with the pictures

As promised, we got Amy’s pix converted and uploaded. They’ve been added to her flickr collection. Check it out! (and check back for more updates)

Today was more business, but it wasn’t as stressful as Tuesday was (or I’d gotten more sleep and was in a better mood). Interviewed a bunch of pharma execs, talked about business trends with a lot of people, and tried to build a bigger picture outta the mosaic of all these impressions of the state of the pharma chemical industry. Lots of contradictory takes out there, but even the contradictions are signifiers of something, maybe a direction in which we hadn’t looked previously.

Oh, and I saw a company with a banner over its booth that read, “” (or something equally nonsensical), which raised all sorts of questions I didn’t even want to answer.