inessential by Brent Simmons


Happy Bastille Day! I was once in France for Bastille Day. We stood by the banks of the river Isère, watched the fireworks and laser show playing on the side of the hill that overlooks town. It was beautiful. I can't find a picture anywhere on the Web, unfortunately. But here's where we worked: Institut de Biologie Structurale.

Grenoble isn't far from Genève, where the Web was being born, only we didn't know it then. We didn't make the trip. Instead we went to fun places like Paris and Nice. You'd think we spent a lot of time in the Alps. Nope. City kids, what can I say.

While we're at it -- three cheers for the bullet train, the TGV. So damn cool. Three hours from Grenoble to Paris. Comfortable ride. But here's what makes me laugh: TGV stands for Train à Grande Vitesse. Which I translate into English as "Train of Great Quickness" or "Really, Really Fast Train." It sounds funny in English, so kind of plain and naive, like they weren't even trying to give it a name. But in French it works.

Quand j'écris au sujet de la France, je veux écrire en français. Mais, c'est difficile, parce que je ne parle pas la langue. I hope that made sense.