Philosophy Rules!

Do you remember, dear readers, how much I dreaded this philosophy conference after I found out it was in French?

Well, it turned out to be the best conference ever. Philosophers are a really fun bunch of great, amazing people. My talk – even though it stuck out like a sore thumb because it was delivered in English – was wildly successful. I had people run after me into the bathroom to congratulate me and ask questions.

The Spanish philosopher whose work we gathered here to discuss came up to me and told me how much he loved my talk. I got so terrified that I stood there completely silent.

“Erm. . . you do speak Spanish?” the philosopher asked me.

I gulped and managed to screech out a high-pitched “Yes!”

By the end of today’s sessions, I could understand French perfectly. The closing remarks were delivered by a scholar who sounded like he’d arrived from Gaspesie 10 minutes before (my Quebecois readers will know what I mean) but I still understood even the jokes he made.

I dig being a philosopher.

Update From the Conference

So I’m sitting here at my Francophone philosophy conference. At first, things went well because speakers had really traditional accents and I could understand their talks fairly well. Then, however, we had two speakers from Quebec and I was completely lost.

During the break, I heard two Spanish-speakers discuss how they couldn’t understand the Quebecois presenters either. I swear that I’d never felt happier to see any other Spanish-speakers than these scholars from Colombia. I now feel marginalized no more. It’s so heartening to feel part of a community, even such a small one.

This is very fitting for a conference on identity.

A Day in Montreal

Everybody is publishing photo reports, so I decided to create one, too. Tell me how you feel about photo reports as a regular feature of this blog.

Two minutes after I left my sister’s house, I came across this street:

I’m sure everybody understands why I had to take a photo of it. Montreal is always building, expanding, transforming. It’s a very vibrant city that is constantly alive. Unlike the St. Louis where I live, Montreal never looks, sounds, or feels dead.

I walked down St. Denis Street, which is one of the most fun streets in this great city. St. Denis is filled with galleries, small quaint stores, coffee-shops, restaurants, bookstores, etc. You can spend all day long exploring this street and still have a lot left to do here on the next day, the day after, and the day after that.

St. Denis is a place where many of my favorite stores are located. This is the amazing Kusmi tea store:

Kusmi teas are expensive but they are extremely delicious. When you brew a pot of Kusmi tea, your entire house fills with the delicate aroma of the tea. If you do decide to try it, please don’t buy it in tea-bags. A tea-bag is a nasty perversion of a beautiful creation of nature that is loose-leaf tea. And it isn’t that hard to brew loose-leaf tea. If you are new to the idea of brewing tea, I highly recommend this extremely easy to use and inexpensive teapot.

This is how Kusmi Tea looks inside.

After buying tea, I decided to indulge my secret taste in cheap gyro plates. There isn’t a cheap gyro restaurant for a hundred miles from where I live, so I have to sneak out to get a plate whenever I’m in Montreal.

I ate the entire thing and it was lovely. And then I went to buy pants. Which probably wasn’t very smart, given that I’d just devoured a huge plate of food.

Here are the pants:

Please notice that I tried to be as American as possible and even tried on a pair of jeans. At this rate, I will probably end up buying my first pair of jeans before I retire.

Today we are going to Ottawa, and I promise a photo report from that city, too.

Dating Advice, Part II

I don’t like repeating the tired old platitudes that so often get dispensed as dating advice. This is why I’m trying to offer a somewhat novel approach to dating in this series of posts. How often have you heard the boring exhortation not to talk about politics and religion on the first date?

Well, in my opinion, this is crappy advice. If you are serious about wanting your dating to culminate in a success, one of the most important things you can do is avoid wasting time. A beginning dater often takes way too long to discover that a new acquaintance is an unsuitable prospect. Seasoned daters, however, perfect their technique of weeding out candidates who don’t suit them within just one or two meetings.

The greatest mistake newbie daters make is concentrating too much on making a good impression on their dates instead of using the first two or three crucial meetings to determine if the person they are trying so hard to impress is somebody they actually need in their lives.

I believe that it’s a good idea to make a list of deal-breakers that will make you lose all interest instantly in a person and discuss them as soon as possible. For example, I obviously could only be interested in a feminist. This is why I always brought up feminism on the very first date. An alternative would be to keep silent about my feminism for fear of scaring the date away only to discover much later that their dislike of feminist ideals make them completely unsuitable for me.

Trying to make a good impression is counter-productive for yet another reason. Believe me, the best way to make a horrible impression on people is to try hard to make a good impression. It makes you come off as fake, pathetic, and as somebody who tries too hard. These are not attractive qualities. If you are passionate about politics or religion, why not mention this as soon as possible in order to avoid possible disappointments after you get emotionally involved with the person?