Valentine Meeting a 'First,' of Sorts

photo: l->r, mark, rob, robin, patricia

The world's first composite 'Group Photo of the Week.'
From left, Mark, Rob, Robin and Patricia.

With Progressive Pixel Pushing

Paris:- Thursday, 14. February 2002:- The weather here has definitely shifted towards winter. Mid-February is as good a time to start it as any. Real rain yesterday, grey today, and much colder tomorrow but sunny - according to tonight's TV-weather news forecast. In fact, sunny and chilly is predicted for all weekend.

This is great because there are only three 'Soldes d'Hiver' shopping days left. For this reason there are not many shoppers on the Rue de Rivoli overladen with colorful bags full of fantastic bargains. If people on the street have any bags at all, they are small. Maybe they are full of small bargains.

Predictably there are next to no people sitting out on terraces along the Quai du Louvre. There are not many people on the sidewalk either - mainly because most of them seem to be inside La Corona, each with great big tubo sandwiches overflowing with green vegetal stuff.

In the club's area there are three sets of these gourmets, totaling thirteen people in all. This leaves 15 or 20 seats free for club members - but where are they?

Today I have neglected to bring anything about Victor Hugo to read. So, using only the tools I havephoto: orpheus parade juju on hand - the club's two official pens and some scrap paper I carry at all times - I fashion a 'focus-puller' cum 'balance-the-whites' device.

Straight from Mardi Gras in New Orleans - a genuine 'Orpheus Parade' juju thing.

The purpose of this is to provide a focus target for the club camera's idiotic auto-focus feature, and give its auto-exposure something white to see so that it can get the 'white-balance' right, whatever this means.

I hope it means it will 'see' white, instead of all the yellow and red that overloads the club's area of the café. The actual device I make by hand is a square white scrap of paper with a cross on it.

The way it is supposed to work is simple. I place the paper where the point-of-focus is, then lock it up with the automatics in the camera, and get the 'focus-puller' out of the way fast - and let 'er rip.

At 15:20 Patricia Philbin asks me what I'm doing. Since it only takes four minutes to make a patented focus-puller, she is really asking what I'm writing, because there don't seem to be any other club members already present.

I am writing about today's 'Waiter of the Week' Patrick giving coins to the two little girls at a nearby table, for their trip to the waterworks in the café's cellar. One changes her mind about going and gives her coin to her father - who is having a slightly hard time trying to figure out why a waiter is handing out coins to little girls.

Patricia is looking for an apartment to rent in Paris. This is not a job for the faint-of-heart, and I try to share what little wisdom I have on the subject with her. 'Bribe the lady guardians,' is my best suggestion.

Actually it is a bit more complicated than this. Suddenly it is café time for the secretary because it is 16:00, so this is the time the other members show up all at once - distracting Patrick from my vital café business.

First, there is Mark Skrivanich, who joined the club last week, and on his heels there are Robin and Robphoto: mark, rob, patricia, patrick, robin Watkins, from New Orléans. They are in Paris because last Tuesday it was Mardi Gras in their home town - which is a serious party-central, specially at Superdome or Mardi Gras time and 52 other weekends a year.

Not the first, not the last - botched 'Group Photo of the Week.' Note the out-of-fucus 'focus-puller.'

To add to the club's treasured and extensive collection of genuine plastic Mardi Gras gear, they have brought a genuine 'Orpheus Parade 2002' juju gizmo. If you got hit on the chin with while dancing with it, you could end up Mardi Gras getting your jaw wired back together.

Anyhow, this thing becomes the 'Krewe of the Week.' It is the first thing of the week for which I have no meaning, but I'm sure readers in New Orleans will know all about it and will be really green with envy to learn this club in Paris has one.

Since I still don't have my café, I give a short explanatory lecture on the 'Rules of Strikes' in Paris, and how they relate to the '35-hour week.'

To sum up, if the room you want to see at the Louvre is closed, it is not because its watchers are 'on strike,' but possibly because of the 35-hour week. The new short working hours mean that there are not enough museum guards to go around.

Patrick brings my café, restoring me to life. I get everybody to hold the 'focus-puller' while I photograph them, and then harass them all to get up for the 'Group Photo of the Week,' and even dragoon Patrick into it.

Meanwhile Patricia keeps saying a legend on the club's camera says 'Progressive Pixels.' She thinks this is very 'wired' or racy or something. It may actually have 'Progressive Pixels,' but I think they are lazy, out-of-focus, right-wing ones.

This meeting is so sloppy that this 'Group Photo of the Week' takes place in overtime - somewhat after the café's effect has worn off.

Mark is extra anxious about the notion that he may only be 'virtually' in Paris, so the idea of the positionphoto: airedale pin of the group's photo, is to have the dome of the Institut de France on the left bank in the photo's background, to prove he is really here.

Of course, this is the photo that the 'focus-puller' falls down on. No focus, no right exposure, all wrong! It is the poorest, sorriest, 'Group Photo of the Week' I have ever seen.

An Airedale pin named 'Ric.' Is it rare?

At the time, none of us know this. Robin is telling me about her Airedale pin named 'Ric,' and asking me is these are really common. Apparently some models of these date to the '30s, but this is news to me.

For trivial buffs, please note that today's meeting has not included anybody named 'Moyer' for a change. That this should be the case of obviously a pure fluke of fate.

It is slightly after 18:00 and I have this report to invent, so I am trying to get to the café's waterworks when I inadvertently ask Madam Naudan, La Corona's proprietress, about the expected arrival of the new upholstery for the banquettes and chairs.

Café La Corona News

A good number of club members return to club meetings when they are back in Paris, and one of the things they look for is the Corona's new décor. They are puzzled that the club's café seems to be so unchanged from its former appearance.

One of the main reasons is that the red pin-dotted upholstery still covers all of the chairs and banquettes. While Monsieur Naudan goes off in disgust, madamephoto: corona terrace explains that an expert from Britain has been called in to find out why the existing upholstery faded drastically in two years instead of ten.

No new upholstery is going to be installed before this question is answered. As for the rest, she says that the café's interior is also 'classified' as an authentic '50s 'monument.' This means that its 100-year old Carrera marble that was installed 50 years ago, must remain untouched.

La Corona's terrace at night, in winter. Tonight in fact.

This goes for the marble on the bar's front too. The 'flying saucer' element over the bar was raised a bit, but to the uneducated eye it looks pretty much the same.

Most of the club café's renovations have been out-of-sight, like all the new marble in the waterworks in the cellar. What is 'in-sight,' both exterior and interior, is 'classified,' so it has been cleaned up, rebuilt if necessary, painted, but is visually unchanged.

This means that it was quite clever of the club's secretary to pick the café La Corona as the club's meeting place. No matter what else changes in Paris, the club's café will remain as it is.

Club members can absent themselves for years, return, and wonder whether they've ever left. Like it says on the club's 'About' page, membership is for 'life.'

This Report's Delay

Metropole Paris' modem dialed the ISP's number and a recorded voice said, "Your correspondent's line is occupied. Phone back again sometime real soon." Your secretary decided to follow this advice, sometime later on Friday.

The Next Meeting

The coming weekly meeting of the Café Metropole Club will be on Thursday, 21. February - which will be exactly one week after today.

Again, it will be a fairly usual third Thursday in the second month of 2002 kind-of-day called Saint-Pierre Damien. Pierre Damien? Last week I looked up Valentin, but not this Damien this week.

The address for this meeting is at the bottom of this page, proceeded or followed by all the date and time and multiple métro-stop names, which must be pretty-well known already because they are exactly the same as last week's.

The 'About the Café Metropole Club' Page

If you think learning more about this club could improve your comprehension of a meeting, you can do so by reading 'About the Café Metropole Club.' This page explains where to find the club in Paris and the day and time of the meetings.

But if you want to skip the tedious 'About' page, all you need to know is that you can easily become a member of this online magazine's free and real club by simply coming to a meeting if you happen to be in Paris. Being elsewhere on a Thursday gets you no cigar.

Date, Time and Location of the Coming Meeting

The next meeting of your club in Paris will begin at 15:00 and zip along to 17:00 in Europe's Central European Time Zone - which is 'CET' for short and not 'MOPT' - and known elsewhere as 3 pm to 5 pm in rare zones without 24-hour 'Eurotime.'

photo: club secretaryThe club's secretary will be making some effort to concoct 'report' notes during the meeting. This will require absolutely no effort on your part. If you seldom remember your name, hometown and email address, note these on your wrist for reference.

A club secretary named 'Ric.' If it isn't exactly rare, it is out-of-focus.

Show up with a new 'Quote of the Week' or name your own 'City of the Week' or even bring any other original 'Things of the Week' you want to see them mentioned in a 'club report.' Otherwise, there are no other 'rules' except 'no rules.'

Your comments, whatever, will be treated with respect and truly appreciated by the other members present, if they happen to overhear them - and by all readers of this online magazine, if they happen to read them, if they chance to be written here.

The café's location is:

Café-Tabac La Corona
2. Rue de l'Amiral de Coligny - or - 30. Quai du Louvre
Paris 1. Métro: Pont-Neuf or Châtelet.

A bientôt à Paris
signature, regards, ric

Send email concerning the
contents to: Ric Erickson, Editor.
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