Transforming Estaminets

As our time abroad comes to be measured in weeks instead of months, our planning becomes precious; we feel we must choose wisely if we are to snatch up a few final, essential experiences. For who knows when we will be back this way? Sometimes this involves seeking out enriching cultural events, like this week’s…

Transforming Jeux de Rôles

One thing I knew I’d need for sure once I got settled in to France: a tabletop role-playing group. Role-playing is probably my longest-lived hobby, and although it has recently graduated to part of my professional freelance repertoire, I still place it somewhere on the spectrum between pastime and obsession. It’s social and creative, it…

Transforming Apples and Oranges

Wherein all our hero wants is a phone number. Theseus was a hero who would not take bull from anyone. To save the Athenians from Cretan tyranny, he had to navigate a labyrinth and slay the ferocious minotaur – then, worst of all, he had to find his way back out again. Of course, a…

Transforming Cannonboobs

We’re sitting in a terrace outside Moulin D’Or, a restaurant in the Place du Théâtre, one of Lille’s many town squares. Actually we’re in the second-class terrace – the covered tables are for customers ordering food, mostly mussels or meat pies; mere coffee drinkers like ourselves sit on the outside of the fenced-in patio, closer…

Transforming Departures

Last day in Edmonton; last coffee shop stop. Iconoclast Koffeehuis is every bit as pretentious as it sounds, but it’s the scrappy, warts-and-all pretention I mostly enjoy. It occupies a cavernous warehouse space that would fit three Second Cup locations, yet there are maybe 10 tables in all, and hardly any décor save for three…