Friday, May 16, 2008

Learning the English

In preparation for tomorrow's trip across the Channel, I've been learning a bit of vocabulary:

#1: Slag is a perjorative slang term, primarily used in the United Kingdom to describe women who engage in casual sex and promiscuous behavior. Its meaning is broadly similar to the terms "slut" and "skank". It originally derives from the same term for piles of impurities skimmed off during the smelting of metals, and has been backronymed to mean "She'll Lay Any Guy", referring to promiscuous behaviour.

#2: Hen's Night - A bachelorette party, hen party, or hen's night, is a party held for a woman who is about to be married as a rite of passage. Companies sell decorations and novelties for bachelorette parties including products like "piñatas", fur-lined handcuffs, "willy whistles," and adult toys. Other companies also sell bachelorette party packs with games and party tools. There are all different products sold for this event. Many bachelorette parties have the girls wear matching tops.

#3: Petite Anglaise - Translates literally as "little english (female)", and is commonly used by French people to refer to English people. See also: Catherine Sanderson, a British blogger living in Paris; See also, Slag.

Further discoveries and photo evidence (matching tops?) to be posted here soon...

Thursday, May 01, 2008

Turn and Face the Strange


There are two broad categories of people in my life: those who have no interest in blogs whatsoever (much more fun to drink with), and those who have at least two blogs of their own.

In the latter group, there's a tiny sub-set called Freaks (or, more politely, 'blog watchers'). These are the people who've been emailing me this week to ask, "Did they fire your ass?"

The they in question is Gawker Media. Blog watchers know that the most powerful and profitable blog network in the world last week offloaded the travel site Gridskipper. They dumped two other titles in the process, Wonkette (politics) and the music blog Idolator. The three together accounted for less than 3% of the network's total traffic. On a good day, Gskipper brought 50,000 page views. Gizmodo, their most popular, brings 2 million per day.

In an internal memo that he encouraged his writers to leak, founder/slasher Nick Denton spoke about the sale of these three sites (for mere pennies, as rumors have it):

"I'm relieved we've found pretty decent homes for the three sites, and most of their writers, but we're gutted to lose them... Gridskipper is so far the most sophisticated travel blog: it entirely deserved its inclusion in Time's list of the 50 coolest websites."
Gridskipper's "new home" is Curbed Network, owner of Curbed, Eater, Racked and now (in the interest of consistency?) 'Skippered. We received an email ten days ago from Editorial Director Ben Leventhal, promising news about the changes and inviting us to tell him how we'd like to stay involved. We (or at least I) never heard from him again.

Rumors are circulating that the revamped site will focus on resorts in and around the United States. That didn't appeal to Editor John Rambow (that really is his name), so he and the rest of his editorial staff are on the sidewalk. As for Denton's claim about finding homes for most of the writers, I don't know a single person from Gridskipper who has been invited by Curbed to stay on.

That brings us back to the original question, "did they fire my ass?"

Not officially, no, not yet. So I'm still wearing the company-issued underwear and checking my email every five minutes. However, I'm pretty sure that they're not going to pay me ever again, and so I should probably get out of the habit of sifting everything I see onto a mental list of six places...

In closing, out of the 47 posts I've written since last June, these five were the most fun to work on:

#5: The Hidden Kitchen

#4: The Most Horrible Tourist Traps in Paris

#3: Paris Concerts à la Carte series

#2: Le Swap: Paris Swing Clubs

#1: Dancing French Electro-Mimes Battle in the Streets

I doubt I'll ever find another outlet that allows me to rank the city's best restaurants alongside its clubs échangistes. It was certainly good while it lasted.

My sincere thanks to former editorial superheroes Chris Mohney, Amanda Kludt and John Rambow, and to all the deranged Paris writers I've met along the way: Adrian, Anna, Lauren and Morgen.

Someone should hire the lot of us. Beginning, of course, with me.