29 August 2008

Les Nuits Masquees

What does "Les Nuits Masquees" mean?

I've mentioned it here.

It evokes masked balls. Anonymity. Which is the idea behind this blog.
As Oscar Wilde would say, "Give the man a mask and he will tell you the truth."

So that's what I do. I put on a mask and share not the truth, mind you, but my version of the truth. That's all "Les Nuits Masquees" means...

Ah yes, if you want, there is this allusion to the clandestine pleasures of Madame Bovary. But that's purely a coincidence.

And as for that mask, don't think for a minute that I would be afraid to speak without it. Of course not. I stand by my ideas and what I believe. But it's much easier this way. There are no interruptions and no distractions.

Who Reads this Blog?

I think it's time I share some of my Google Analytics findings. Remember this rant? Well I still use Google Analytics to make sense of my visitors. So let's see if we have some sort of pattern going on...

To begin, I was amazed that this blog had 175 hits on 28 August. I wondered what happened there and it turns out the Tran Genealogy pages attracted the most hits on that day. Either way, this sharp peak stood out on the Google Analytics' time graph and made me feel slighly famous for a moment.

But only for a moment. This blog's average daily hit is only about 50 pages with 25 visits. Not bad but could be better.

I rate dismally on Technorati. I'm sure it has something to do with the wide ranging topics and the lack of links referring to this website. This blog fits no category and readers never know "what they are going to get". Life is like a box of chocolate right? Now who said that...:)

But seriously, who are you people? And what are you looking for?

Popular Posts

Well the number one post which has consistently had the most hits over the last year is Narcissistic Men or Women. In fact, you could even imagine that this post is the only thing worth reading in this entire blog when you consider the disproportionate amount of hits it receives alone.
This is a worry. Am I such a bad writer?
But either way, bless you. I'm glad I could help. In fact it bothers me that there are so many people who need help in this department. What a monstruous dating world this must be. Is there no end to it? No respite for those in love with self-serving vampires?
The search keywords that visitors used to reach the post speak for themselves:

narcisstic men
narcisstic women
dealing with narcisstic women
narcissistic men in relationships
childhood of narcisstic men
coping with narcisstic women
dealing with female narcisstic wife
how narcisstic use women
how to change narcissistic men?
how to recognise insecure men
men who crave attention from women
narcissistic men and how they hurt women


Third most popular this year is the main page of Les Nuits Masquees. I'm assuming some of these visits may originate from random Blogger references. Having said that, if you are returning directly to this blog on your own volition, then you must like something. Always nice to know!

Now you see, I'm starting to notice a pattern. Because in the Top 10 and currently at 7th place for the most popular post, is The Passive Aggressive Boss.
You'd think that happy workers all over this planet were accidentally stumbling across this post and were blissfully unaware that there was such a thing as a manipulative boss... But you'd be wrong. The corporate world is, indeed, ugly. No need to be so professional about it!
Here are some of the keywords that people have typed and which led to this post, (don't worry I have no idea who you are, rest in peace you tormented souls):

dealing with a passive agressive boss
covert passive agressive men
how to deal with passive aggressive boss
how to deal with a passive agressive boss
passive agressive boss
gaslighting passive aggressive
feedback for the passive aggressive
how to deal with a jealous, manipulative boss
how to deal with gaslighting
how to manage petty insecure boss
my boss is passive aggressive
etc... etc...

Such a pity that there are no real solutions to this ever increasing problem. Insecurity, narcissism, loneliness, alienation, the me-generation...there are all symptoms of one and the same thing.

Visitor Location

That most of my visitors are from the US is not a surprise given the media platform and the English language. Australia comes in second place which is reassuring as it means at least a couple of friends find interest in my ramblings (and that doesn't include the couple who subscribe via Google Reader).

Following closely are visits from the UK, Canada and France (not all relatives, I assure you). Overall, this blog receives visitors from 55 countries, including the less likely, Senegal (finally!), China, Brazil, Lebanon, Algeria and Oman.

Visitors stay an average of 1 minute which means they do get past the post titles and the images. I'm relieved.

Overall, what do the visitors tell me. Based on the most popular content, there is a thirst for French lyrics translation, an urgent desire for self-help material and keen, sustained interest in my Vietnamese family genealogy.
I will keep that in mind.

25 August 2008

Piaf Mood

I'm exhausted today. Everything aches and I can barely type.
My mood can best be described as nostalgic. I caught myself singing songs in the shower. Familiar songs.

Do you have songs that you naturally turn to when you are feeling drained and when your psyche is wasted? Songs that are not even your favourite songs but whose lyrics you thoroughly enjoy singing? I've heard of music therapy so perhaps there are some tunes that my brain intrinsically seeks to soothe me when things go a little awry up there. In Planet Laura. I wonder if there is a music psychologist that can explain my choice of songs to me.

So now the rundown. The songs are mostly in French. There are songs that I learnt as a child while being raised in a mostly French household with a mother and several aunts who were proud fans of Edith Piaf.

Due to its popularity in the English speaking world, you'll probably think of the ubiquitous "Noooon, rien de rien....Nooooon, je ne regrette rien..." I suppose that would be befitting and would suggest self-introspection and nostalgia. Wouldn't it? If you're thinking about that one then you're wrong. I'm much more complex than that. (Although oblique is more the word.)

I could have picked so many Edith Piaf songs for my twisted brain to latch onto and sing in the shower when I'm down. I love the majority of her work. She's a great artiste. "Tu me fais tourner la tête... Mon manège à moi c'est toi", I love that song. Or "La Foule", that would probably be my favourite along with "La Goualante du Pauvre Jean".

Oh, and "Ah Ça Ira Ça Ira Ça Ira, les aristocrates à la lanterne..."
I like that one too except that we had Vietnamese royalty in the house and my grandmother would get all indignant about me calling for their execution... It didn't make a difference when I explained that this song was merely referring to French aristocrats, she was still pursing her lips at me. So I ended up not singing this one too frequently!!

Anyway, I've dragged this for long enough. I sing "Milord" and "L'homme à la moto". I'm very good at it. It's easy because the lyrics are so visually evocative and they fit my mood. I feel every part of them and as a result, my voice sounds great. It even acquires that distinctive nasal quality. I could do the street urchin thing, believe me I could. And it feels so right singing those lyrics. Why, I don't know. But they speak to me. When I sing "Milord", it's as though I've worked in a cabaret all my life and I know this man only too well. I know his story. I also feel as if I know (or knew) this man from "L'homme à la moto". I'm sure there are lame English translations out there if you care to Google them. If not I'll add a translation later on this blog.

I mentioned they were mostly French songs. One of them isn't. One of them is an annoying English song that I can't seem to get out of my head and that's been the case, ever since I was in high school.
Here it comes: "Rain drops are falling on my head..." What's worse is that I don't even know the full lyrics!! I stand under the shower, with the jet in my absent minded face and I'm singing like an idiot: "But there's one thiiing, I know...bla bla bla...crying's not for me...bla bla bla...because I'm freeeee, nothing's worrying meee!!!!"
I mean seriously, WTF!!!

Endearing, really.

21 August 2008

Dark Times

For the last two nights, I've dreamt about cars.

Dream One

I am a figurehead in some sort of prestigious school and wearing a long blue velvet gown with a plunging neckline. I am dressed for a ceremony. I step on top of a podium and make a speech. Initially, I'm hesitant because I have only just realised my role in this school and so the responsibility weighs down on me. I feel like an impostor as everyone encourages me to speak. But I speak. And it's easier than I thought. I win them through my voice and my choice of words.

Straight after this, my dad picks me up in his car. We drive off away from the elite school. And it's then that I realise how chaotic and rundown the outside world is. There are no real roads. Cars compete for space in the cramped butimen lanes devoid of traffic signs and lights. There are abandoned construction grounds everywhere.

My dad is driving faster and I feel tense as he narrowly misses first one, then two and then several cars speeding in his direction. We manage to weave past all of them. He is keen to drive us to safety. The area all around us is filled with cars moving and crashing in every direction. It's an absolute carnage. We are stuck as everyone, without exception, has suffered a collision of some sort. There is a bus / car collision ahead of us, barring our way and my dad is still speeding...

In an unexplained twist which I am now familiar with, my unconscious instinct kicks without warning. I feel myself drift out of my body and step outside of the car. It means that something is about to happen. I don't know how I know but I know. I am safe now, apparently. I am no longer in the car in spirit, only in body. I follow my dad's car. I can see it avoid the impending collision with the side of the bus and veer sharply towards the left. My dad's car disappears from view into a side road. I can no longer see. So I float higher up, towering the mass car wreak. I move like a ghost towards the road that he took.

It's not a road. It's a deep precipice. It's the steepest slope I've ever seen and it leads to nowhere. I can not even see the bottom because it's so deep. There is only water and clouds of mist with glimpses of steel that betray the content of the crevasse. The car must have fallen instantly. He did not know that it wasn't a road. And now they are dead.

The End.

I've looked up this dream but I'm not convinced by its supposed meaning. The dictionnary tells me that my life is out of control. Bizarre. It says that the person driving is the one I wish was in control of my life. Hardly accurate.
Death is a good symbol though.

The other reason why I don't believe that the person driving has any significance in terms of control issues is the next dream.

Dream Two

This time it begins with an argument with my mother. I run away. I have no home, no money. I end up turning to an ex. His name is Damien. I go to his house and he shelters me.

The next day he drives me to the stores to buy food. I feel like a dag. I'm wearing a gigantic white tracksuit and I feel terrible. I don't like it when I hate my clothes. I see people in the store who remind me of my unhappiness. I tell Damien that I'd like to go and change.

We return to the car. It happens to be a 4WD that my father used to own. But it's much larger, almost colossal. The dashboard is made of marble. It's heavily chromed on the outside. Damien manoeuvres the car out of the park and I step in. I have a fleeting thought, "This used to be my dad's car. Now he is dead."

So I know that my dad is dead. (Outside my dream, he still lives)

Incidentally, Damien is definitely not the person I would want to 'control' my life. So it's bizarre.

Then an old man in a white singlet appears from nowhere and talks to Damien through the side window. I realise it's Damien's dad. He is crouching forward and looks pained. He speaks imploringly in a sad, broken tone and I feel that he wants to speak to his son. But he dares not ask him to wait. He doesn't want to impose.

I can see that Damien is getting the hint. But he is hesitating. Should he drive away with me and take care of me or stay awhile to speak with his dad?

I understand. So I step out of a car to indicate that I'm not going anywhere. I feel terrible for the old man. I tell Damien to stay with his dad and speak to him.

The END.

Maybe these dreams are telling me that my dad needs me. I really think so. Might have to visit some time...

I also think the school side of the dream means that I'm living a cocooned existence, oblivious to the troubles of others. I'm living in my little pristine world and have forgotten those who care about me. Like my parents for example.

That's the best way I can interpret the dreams.