Recently I stumbled across a French translation of this blog, which mystified, fascinated, and delighted me. I have no idea who prompted this or why, and in any case I’ve messed up the records by obsessively returning to it myself, but as I’ve also found out there are a surprising number of Patrick Vazes out there (surprising since it’s a fairly odd combination of an Irish given name and a Portuguese family name, but clearly not as odd as I had thought), one of whom is a professional soccer player in France (unfortunately for me, I am not a professional soccer player), perhaps this was someone looking up a favorite footballer and being surprised by his many opinions on theatrical performances in California. In case anyone is wondering, I do not play soccer in France, I do not sell real estate in Florida, and I am not the assistant manager of a garage in Goa. Right now, in fact, I’m not doing much here in my native San Francisco Bay Area besides gazing into the funhouse mirror which is the automatic translator’s version of me. I wouldn’t call myself the best judge of le mot juste en francais, but it seems pretty accurate, though I have no idea if idioms like “got my Irish up” make any sense at all in French; on the other hand, from now on when Lunch Lady Doris appears on the Simpsons I know I’m going to think of her as “Mme Doris de dejeuner,” which sounds delightful, which is why it definitely gives you an amusing wrong impression. I checked the recent entry on my plumbing problems to see how the translation device handled my little pun on “crappy.” I don’t think “une semaine miserable” carries the joke as well, though on further reflection perhaps the reference is to the chase through the sewers in Hugo’s novel, in which case I credit the Google Automatic Translator for an effective if higher-toned substitute joke.
I found the translation through my statcounter.com statistics, which I find fascinating now that I’ve bothered to learn how to check them. Most of the keyword searches are fairly standard and unsurprising (though unlike M. C- at the Standing Room, I’ve never to my knowledge had searches for “Nathan Gunn naked” but I have had “Greer Grimsley naked”; since Grimsley was Claggart in the Pittsburgh Billy Budd I saw, I’m wondering if someone shouldn’t just stage an all-nude Billy Budd and get it over with). But to the guy (I’m safe on the gender here) who keeps searching for “menstrual pad porn” and ending up with my weird trip to LA in which I found the pad in my suitcase and was charged for porn I didn’t watch, I know I’m not supplying what you’re looking for, and please go away, you’re creeping me out. (I was actually most creeped out when he spelled it “menstrul pad porn” – something about misspelling makes it so much worse to me.) To all those searching for “guys gone wild” who end up with my entry on last June’s Don Giovanni, I wish to say that, in retrospect, I probably should have chosen a different title, and I wish you luck on your well-nigh impossible quest through the vast reaches of The Interwebs to find pictures of hot shirtless guys (damn, I just let myself in for all those searches – this thing is like Tar Baby – and now I’m going to get the Toni Morrison/Joel Chandler Harris searches – damn!). To all the people out there with narwhal searches, my apologies on my lack of any but the most frivolous and marginal information, which in fact pretty much just amounts to the blog’s subtitle – though maybe it’s just one person with a narwhal thing, in which case I sincerely hope you find the answer to your poignant search term “What makes a narwhal happy?” and may you and your narwhal(s) find said happiness for many years to come.
And speaking of happiness, I got a needed jolt of it myself when I discovered that the Boston Celebrity Series (Bay Area residents, think of Cal Performances or San Francisco Performances) not only has a blog but they say nice things about me and have me on their blogroll. What a refreshing change from my emotionally abusive relationships with the local arts groups: in case anyone is wondering, no, the San Francisco Symphony did not invite me to their Blogger’s Night at the Symphony last July (I've hidden the pain until now); though in fairness to them I should note that (1) they almost certainly have never heard of me; (2) even if they have heard of me, they probably don’t read me; and (3) if anyone over there does read me, they probably just figured, “Yeah, he’ll blog about the evening – six months after it happens, and in the middle will be some weird-ass digression about how professional football is like Kabuki theater, and he’ll just end up bitching about how ugly Davies Hall is and how much he hates it when conductors make little jokes before the performance, so we’ll save our cookie trays for the worthy, thank you very much.” Fine. I’ll still show up with fistfuls of cash begging for you, O local Symphony, once I figure out how I’m paying for my home repairs. To return to less dysfunctional relationships (aren’t long-distance relationships really the best kind?), I’ve added “Aisle Be Seeing You” (the Boston Celebrity Series blog) to the blogroll; once I managed to tear my eyes away from the entry about me, I found the self-described “goofy promotional tool and informative arts link generator” full of lots of interesting and entertaining stuff. I have to say I got an extra thrill out of the entry and link because so many of the memorable performances I saw when I lived in Boston were brought to me by my annual subscription to the Celebrity Series. If you have me on your blogroll or want to be on mine, or just want to give me an extra thrill of your own, French or not, drop me a line. . . .