Saturday, February 26, 2011

Month-End Miettes: A Voyage Begins

February, another month with not much happening. Well, that's not strictly true: I've been preparing for a month-long visit to the U.S., as usual, for South by Southwest. It's the 25th anniversary this year, and I'm on a panel entitled "I'm Not Old, Your Music Does Suck," which ought to be, um, interesting.

I didn't blog at all when I made this trip last year, then summed everything up when I returned, although I was trying to keep the topic of this blog solidly on my life in France. But there are too many interesting things going on at SXSW, too many issues that affect what I do for a living, not to write about it. So I'll try to check in once in a while to update all of this. I'll also be going to New York, Montreal, Philadelphia, and Cecilia, Louisiana on this trip if all goes well, and the couple of days I'll be in Cajun country might well inspire me to unleash the old camera.

"If all goes well" is the operative phrase there. Yesterday, someone spoofed my debit card and emptied out my bank account. This is all the more annoying because a couple of weeks ago, the bank shut me down briefly for "suspicious activity" and I led a not-too-bright young man through my upcoming itinerary, with dates, so that the bank wouldn't do that again. They should have known I was still in France instead of on upper Broadway in New York yesterday, but...they didn't. So right now, I'm waiting for America to wake up so I can figure out what to do next and how I can lay hands on some dough that's been sent to the account so we can shut it down. Everything ought to be okay in about ten days, but living through that's going to be the challenge. Wish me luck.

Update: This post was composed while I was impatiently awaiting 8am, New York time, when the help center opens. After posting, I Google mapped 4058 Broadway, where the ATM was. There's a Bank of America there. Also a check-cashing service and a drugstore, which are much more likely venues for the fake card to have been used. It's at Broadway and 117th St., not somewhere I plan to visit soon.

I drew two excellent helpers once I got on, one in Customer Service and the other in Detection (!), and they shut the card down temporarily. Now when my money arrives -- Monday, most likely -- we'll open it up, grab the money here, and shut it down again. So with luck, I'll be able to get out of here as planned. Now if I just had someone who wanted to take me out to dinner tomorrow night, all would be swell: I got robbed before I could get grocery money.

* * *

I haven't been to the market all week, but last time I went, one of the organic stands was selling something I pick up on the rare occasions I see it: "Japanese Mixture," a collection of salad greens that's fantastically spicy and bitter, a perfect wintertime salad. Past arugula and, I think, spinach, I can't identify any of these greens.

I know there's a doctoral student in botany who sometimes reads the blog, but I'm not looking for the Latin here. It's mostly dark green with some red. The yellow cast is the lightbulb's fault; I'm still learning how to use the camera to avoid stuff like that.

Anyway, by the time I get back, with luck there'll be some more choices in the market. It's already warming up. Life down here's about to get nice again. Well, I hope it does, at least.


  1. I think the greens that look like skinny oak leaves are tatsoi.
    I think that panel at SXSW sounds like a lot of fun. Hope there'll be some video or a transcription available.

  2. Baby Swiss Chard (UK term I'm afraid) at 4pm. Dandelion type leaves as well e.g. dead centre.

  3. Hope all works out with your bank account. Have a great time at SXSW! Give my regards to Austin :-)


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