I finally took the time to format and update a small paper I wrote last month on the creolization process and its interpretations in cognitive science.

Despite its pompous title, it is very much layman-oriented and designed as a general presentation of creolization.

What is creolization, I hear you ask?

Well, it’s a fascinating phenomenon observed in communities where kids raised by speakers of a pidgin end up spontaneously producing a more grammatically advanced language of their own (a creole). Not only does it happen in practically every known instance of such pidgin-speaking communities, but a similar process has been observed in Nicaragua with sign language.

Beyond their ethnological and linguistics interest, Creolization studies give great insights as to how humans learn to speak and the cognitive process involved.

If you have some interest into either of these fields, you can read the whole thing here:
Creolization and Cognitive Theories of Language Acquisition

And by the way, don’t let the pedantic tone fool you… I don’t have the slightest idea what I’m talking about in there: I am neither a linguist nor much of a cognitive scientist. This particular assignment just happened to have enough wiggle room that I could escape the dreary droning of a typical math’n’physics paper in my choice of topic.

Feel free to post comments, additional info or point out some of the gross inaccuracies no doubt littering the text in the comment area provided to that effect.

I’m not sure if anything can still be done for the reputation of this blog, seeing how the past 24 hours have seen an unusually high amount of somewhat sensible, even possibly useful information put here. Frankly, I don’t know if my blogger’s ethics will ever recover.

I will try nonetheless.

Wars of the Geeks is officially over, silly inconsequent navel-gazing is now back for the month.

Let’s start by what should have been yesterday’s sum up of how to succeed at cooking an enjoyable Summer evening with friends. It goes a little something like this:

[steps sideways, does two entrechats and starts singing while tap-dancing to the beat]

  • Some second-hand equipment purchased for a fistful of euros on the outer rim of the Internets.
  • Cranberry juice + vodka + a splash of lemon juice + a dash of cointreau + a few wedges of lime + loads of ice, times a few gallons.
  • One lovably demented masterpiece of a Japanese movie recommended by S. a while back.
  • People (also: other people without blogs, but likeable nonetheless).

Shake but do not stir, serve fresh with cocktail straws.

Such a fabulous evening that our little Cinéma de quartier might very well be on its way to become a regular bi-monthly.

Then there also was yesterday’s recipe: another kind of enjoyable dish. Though it’s made of much harder-to-find of ingredients and I am not even quite sure I remember myself how the cooking process went.

If you absolutely want to try at home, I think it involved a bottle of contraband Absinth, eye-burning Japanese menthol eye drops, one of the most furious thunderstorm of the Summer and lots of Parisian girls running by in the street, wearing but thin blouses soaking wet from the sudden rain.

Also what appears to be a medium-sized rodent stuck to my living room table in a puddle of melted wax and solidifying liquor. But I will only be able to confirm that when I finish removing the few dozens glasses and beer bottles stacked over it.

I am back.

Or more exactly: I am back closer to an internet connection. Still somewhere down south, albeit in a more family-oriented settings.

These five days in the boondocks were absolute paradise and helped reminding me that, was the choice to come down between: big city and the internets on one side, friends, sun, fresh veggies, cheap wine and homegrown on the other, I’d easily slide toward the latter as a permanent way of life.

During my blissful stay in the heart of French Aveyronais region, I:

  • ate lots of delicious homemade food including chlada felfel, aligot, moroccan brownies and much more.
  • spent entire afternoons on a sun-drenched deck reading, chatting, smoking and overall doing absolutely nothing requiring electricity or a phone line whatsoever.
  • stunk to high-heavens of lemongrass essence the entire time, but didn’t get bitten by mosquitoes once.
  • spent hours excitedly exchanging musical tips and hundreds of bad-ass 70’s funk tracks
  • had to climb up a ladder to get to my bed (when I didn’t opt to stay in a hammock outside).
  • walked through a [small] open field of odoriferous plants with strangely shaped leaves and got to sample last year’s crop.
  • realized that buying and fixing a house somewhere deep in the country, away from civilization, wasn’t only a way to live a healthier, cheaper and simpler life: there are a few perks on the side.
  • spent a whole night playing poker while a fierce Summer thunderstorm raged outside (complete with flickering lights, blown fuses and all).
  • met Chucky, the mellow schnauzer, who has never been quite the same ever since he accidentally ate half a pound of mushrooms found drying under his master’s bed.
  • made two gallons of frozen margaritas and brought a few more converts over to the church of the Holy Citrus Tequila Cocktail.
  • did many other things that shall remain safely out of read from potentially underage eyes…

Back in P-town this week-end.

Picture martine_pics.jpg When I moved in, a few months ago, I had little time to spend on elaborate interior decoration. One of the only picture on the walls was a gift from Martine for my birthday last year.

When I finally decided to put more effort into redecorating my place, I immediately thought of asking her for a few more prints: she promptly mailed me a dozen of them, which arrived last month, although I was too busy fighting deadline psychosis at the time to do much more than file them in a corner and wait for brighter days. At long last this week, I was able to shop for some framing material and start hanging them on the walls.

And they look absolutely gorgeous!

For some reason, I have a stupendously high proportion of pro and semi-pro photographers amongst friends and acquaintances, and they all have beautiful works to boast of… But some of Martine’s pictures, on top of their moving aesthetics, have this striking liveliness and journalist-like veracity that make you feel like you are standing a few feet away, inside the picture. Her pictures are the closest to a stroll through the backstreets of Tokyo you will ever get without buying a plane ticket.

If you are looking for stunning photographs to decorate your life and bring a corner of Kichijoji’s parkside coffeeshops or a wandering Tokyo commuter’s smile into your existence, here is your chance: Go pick and order now!

I take that back.

Hell, is a small but noisy rodent seemingly stuck between your bedroom ceiling and the neighbour’s floor, scuttling around aimlessly at 3am, only stopping every ten minutes to gnaw on stuff.

That critter is single-handedly squandering any tiny amount of goodwill Walt Disney may have ever earned his species.

You, my friend, have picked the wrong neighbour to fuck with. I’ve dealt with more resilient than you before.

Yesterday, I had convincingly authentic Japanese food for the first time in Paris and felt it deserved a mention here.

Issé restaurant (“tempuras & tapas”) has a soberly stylish decoration and seemingly caters to a large japanese-speaking clientele, both reassuring points when compared to the flurry of Chinese-speaking sushi chefs and horrifyingly cheesy pseudo-oriental kanji signs, customary of most other places that claim to offer Japanese cuisine in this city.

The menu there is classic, yet not stereotypical, which means a lot of small dishes, no ramen, and only a few makis on offer. Somewhere between a typical Tokyo restaurant and a high-end izakaya (lots of the same food, but less greasy): we had loads of tempuras (shiso, seafood, a bunch of other veggies… even mozzarella…), seaweed salad, agedashi tofu, and a couple other dishes. All great and tasty (ok: I reckon my agedashi tofu is better, but I may be biased) and infinitely more reminiscent of the whole Tokyo experience than many a j-food joints on rue Saint Anne.

Prices were about average to high, but very reasonable for the quality of food (around 20-30 euros/person for dinner and a drink).

And for those who ever lived in Japan: sit there, sipping an iced ohlong-cha with schochu and nibbling on edamame, and I swear you won’t be able to shake the natsukashiness away.