Halloween in France, Engineer in the fog and cooking fail

Hey Everyone,
Happy Halloween! This is one of my favorite times of the year because A) college students have the best crazy costumes and B) chocolate and other candy can be purchased in individually wrapped packages in quantities of 5 lbs. or more. Eating 8 fun-sized Kit Kats is totally healthier than eating one normal sized bar, right? In the picture below, we have one Gumby, two pimps, one communist, two hillbillies, one Viking, and that one robot guy from all of the LMFAO music videos.

Some of my friends freshman year, taken by Carolyn Kiss.

I also love seeing people in costume in class. My sophomore year, I sat next to a guy in a zombie outfit during Calc 3. Since it was dark in the mask, he kept on falling asleep. His head bobbed up and down as it sunk lower and lower to the desktop. Our professor, Dr. Mancas, startled him to wake him up. Funniest thing ever.

Nuit Blanche 2013 logo, from http://www.paris.fr/pratique/culture-patrimoine/nuits-blanches/p6806

At the beginning of October, all of Paris comes together to celebrate a night of art and culture. Nuit Blanche, white night, means essentially a night without darkness, which is what the French call an all-nighter. From about 7pm until dawn, the entire city is alive with the sounds of the cinema, concerts, and dance clubs. The sky is colored with lights from art exhibits, from the windows of galleries as light spills onto the sidewalks, and fireworks along the Seine. Groups of people walk the streets playing music from their home countries on drums, others rollerblade throughout the city, zipping back and forth from neighborhood to neighborhood.

Since my friend Scott and I had nothing else to do that Saturday, we decided to check out Nuit Blanche. I did a bit of research beforehand and so I had an idea of where everything was located and what I most wanted to see. There was this Frog sculpture created by a Japanese artist named Fujiko Nakaya that seemed very interesting. My thought was that it would be really cool to see a giant lit up frog sculpture in the middle of the Place de la République. I also thought that it would be nice to grab dinner at this crêpe restaurant in the Latin Quartier on the other side of the Seine. Since Scott didn’t want to spend too much money on metro tickets, we ended up walking roughly 2 miles to go from the restaurant to Place de la République. When we finally arrived after about 45 minutes of walking, we immediately started searching the place for the frog sculpture. We looked and we looked and we looked. We found this huge misting machine, which was pretty neat because it placed so many water droplets in the air, it almost completely blocked out light form the street lamps and there was only about 10 feet of visibility, but it was no giant, flowing frog. After 20 minutes of playing about in the mist and searching, I realized that I had misread the program for Nuit Blanche. I read frog instead of fog. It turned out that the interesting mist machine that was smack dab in the middle of the Place de la République was the Fog Square sculpture created by Fujiko Nakaya. Wow, I could not believe that I had misread the program sooner. I felt so silly. Scott thought it was hilarious.

Fog Square, created by Fujiko Nakaya, photo taken by Scott Schimmel.

Me standing in the fountain, taken by Scott Schimmel.

This next bit is about the Cité des Sciences et de l’Industrie. Scott, Alessandro, and I actually visited the science center way back in August, but I finally just got the photos from Alessandro last week and journal entries can be boring without photos. I thought it would be like the Pacific Science Center in Seattle, Washington, which is really cool because it is interactive and a lot of fun. Overall, this interactive science museum was kind of mediocre, maybe because it was aimed at a younger age group or maybe because some of the exhibits were not very interesting. However, one exhibit was actually neat because it had to do with outer space and satellites. The largest attraction was a Vulcain rocket engine.

Vulcain is a group of first stage rocket engines designed by the European Space Agency for the Ariane 5 rocket, which is designed to deliver payloads in low Earth orbits and geostationary transfer orbits. The Vulcain engine uses liquid oxygen/ liquid hydrogen cryogenic fuel. It brings back fond memories of EGR 101 that I took during my freshman year at ERAU. The task was for us to design a rocket in order to deposit and satellite into space. It was pretty fun, I designed the launch sequencer and my roommate, Jackie, designed the umbilical system and fuel tanks on the rocket. Anyways, I digress. I was surprised by how large the engine was and the fact that I could have touched it with my bare hands if I wanted to. The French are pretty relaxed about these types of things; the zoo I visited during the summer had very small fences that were close enough so that people could touch the animals if they tried.

Me and Vulcain rocket engine, taken by Alessandro.

“Duct tape and Velcro are the two most important tools for space crews” – Jean-François Clervoy, an astronaut for the ESA. Please ignore my dorky pose, taken by Alessandro.

Last Monday, we had a bit of unexpected free time and ended up adding a story to my book of cooking horror stories. Our four hour long 8AM class was canceled because the lab we were assigned did not have the software necessary to complete our work. Naturally we didn’t know this until we walked into class. Since we were all up and awake (mostly) with nothing to do, we ended up going to Aymeric’s, Laura’s boyfriend’s, house to make lunch. Since I didn’t fully understand the rapid-fire French going around me, I just kind of went with the flow. We ended up making a vegetable lasagna, pretty simple and pretty easy to get right, right? Wrong.

This lasagna recipe used 200g (two blocks) of chevre cheese, 3 jars of pesto, parmesan cheese, dried green onions, and pasta. Please note, that I do not know much about cooking for French cuisine. I thought the list of ingredients was strange, but I did not say anything because I did not want to be impolite. The first mistake was the quantity of ingredients that we used. The second mistake was not cooking the lasagna noodles before placing them in the pan. The lasagna was horrible! The parmesan cheese on top burned, the noodles were crunchy and raw, and the entire thing was swimming in oil. This guy named Martin bent of spoon trying to separate squares for everyone. The only person who finished their portion was the mastermind of the whole operation, Aymeric. I took a bite or two in an attempt to be polite and was relieved when I saw that everyone else had stopped eating too. We have since decided that Aymeric is no longer allowed to cook, ever.
Well, that’s all folks, I’ll write again in about two weeks. As always, thank you for reading.
-Brenna

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Brenna

About Brenna

Area of Concentration: Astronautics
Hometown: Fairbanks: Alaska
Career Goals: To be an aerospace engineer who works for an international organization. Hopefully, I’ll have the chance to live and work overseas.
Why I Chose Embry-Riddle: The strength of the degree programs offered, the overall feeling of the campus, and the amount of possibilities
Activities: Honors Program, Resident Advisor

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