At Musée d'Orsay (2006-12-03)

Musée d'Orsay
Sculpture of Sculptor Sculpting
Before I recommended Versailles, I wrote my friend that I'd recommend Musée d'Orsay. We went there our last day in Paris, and I'm glad we didn't miss it.

In Versailles (2006-11-08)

Back of Château de Versailles
Back of Grand Trianon
Petit hameau
A friend asked, "If you had three days in Paris and its environs, and had never been there before, what would you go see?" I recommended the places pictured in the photographs quite close to Paris on the map of my geotagged photos--in Paris and Chartres. (I excepted ones idiosyncratic to my visit like M. Berger's salon where I lived or Le Chao-Ba-Café where I worked remotely.) However, since my European travelogue then ended with October 23, 2006, at Château d'Amboise, I wrote that I'd recommend a Paris location from second half of my visit there. My recommendation is Versailles, so I've uploaded these to my Flickr photos. In Versailles we saw these places:
  • Château de Versailles (although La Galerie des Glaces was under renovation),
  • Château de Versailles park and garden (although the Fountain of Apollo had construction around it),
  • Grand Trianon,
  • Petit Trianon, and
  • Petit hameau.

Watching Das Leben der Anderen/The Lives of Others (2007-02-11)

Das Leben der Anderen/The Lives of Others contains both empathetic character development and entertaining plot twists. Set in East Germany before (and a little after) the fall of the Berlin Wall, the story follows the main characters, a Stasi officer and the playwright-and-actress couple he surveils, in a way that shows their humanity.

Director Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck said after a preview screening that the film has special meaning to many of those in Germany that viewed it or participated in its creation. In the cast one example is Sebastian Koch, who plays Georg Dreyman, the playwright: he experienced Stasi intimidation himself. In the crew another example is the property manager, who went to great lengths to assure the authenticity of the props in the film. In the audience many were reminded of their experiences in the GDR.

It sounded like Germany has some lack of constructive methods for its citizens to relate to former Stasi informants and officers, and to address the memory of the arrests, suicides, surveillance, and threats the film shows. Some Seattle audience members suggested the model of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. I was reminded of Red Dust. However, the goal of the TRC was truth rather than justice. It's possible that since the Stasi files are available for review by those who were surveillance targets, the truth is sufficiently available.

Das Leben der Anderen is an engaging film due not only to the people, place, and time it portrays, but also for the suspenseful sequence of events. I recommend those near Seattle's Harvard Exit Theatre go see it when it opens there February 16.

At Café on the Ave (2007-02-14)

This popular cafe on University Way NE has WiFi (the key is on the receipt), many power outlets, cute baristas, good drinks, decent meals (the price buys generous helpings rather than gourmet food) and music (Washington band Death Cab for Cutie is playing now). Due to its proximity to UW students often occupy the four-person tables near the windows, but there are outlets elsewhere.

I "Sharpen the Saw" (as Stephen R. Covey writes) physically by getting my heart rate in the target zone three times a week--in addition to trying to eat healthy food. I use UW's IMA for this. Since other goals are to simplify my life by driving less and making transit time more tolerable, it makes sense to stay in the University District before or after my workout. Café on the Ave is a good place for me to work.

Wandering East Africa Years Ago (2000-03-01/31)

Indian Ocean Near Mombasa
Tarangire National Park
Sunrise from Hans Meyer Cave, Kilimanjaro