Roller Days Are Back

photo: bistrot marguerite

Terrassians wait in comfort for Sunday's roller
folk to pass.

Systematic Blues and Emails

by Ric Erickson

Paris:- Monday, 13. May 2002:- The weather is very pleasant right now. It is the same as it was this morning, except that it is later. Having the weather being pleasant and having it this way all day is a bit rare.

It was good yesterday too for the part of the day I was out in it. It might have been good for the part I wasn't out. It was good last Wednesday, no matter what forecast was here last week.

On one of the days, Friday or Saturday, or both, it was pretty rainy. By 'rainy' I mean it rained nearly all day long. Rainy days here used to be mostly at night, but I didn't notice any night rain.

In general, since it isn't 'rainy' often here 'all day,' it isn't much to complain about. if I want to take 'rainy-day' photos - and sometimes I do - a good, rainy day can be perfect for it. But I didn't feel like taking any 'rainy-day' photos last week.

It is warm enough for May today. The forecast says it will be warm enough for March tomorrow. Afterphoto: roue libre, avenue victoria, sunday that, it will be warm enough for May again. It may be mostly sunny until Friday. By Wednesday, the forecast may be different - for Wednesday. But for now, it is okay, and for Thursday too.

The RATP rents bikes for less than a 'carnet' of métro tickets.

Let's face it. The weather is going to be pretty much like usual. Paris is up north, beyond the good- weather line. If there is weather here like Mediterranean weather, it is rare and unusual. If you get any, you should feel lucky.

There is no 'luck' in this week's forecast. Normal for May in Paris is the best we can do.

Update:- Two seconds after I claim the weather is 'normal,' the TV-weather news guy comes on flapping his wings, to tell viewers that a tropical storm has brewed up out of nothing near Biarritz, and is heading towards Paris. By the time he has finished this warning it is pouring water in sheets outside.

I suppose this is why the issue's upload to the Web server at 04:30 gets stuck, saying 'making connection' for 45 minutes before I give up. The server-lady, later in the morning, says the server is 'up/down/up.' When I try it, it takes everything swiftly but changes all the image names so they won't display. On my 'day off,' bits of blue sky play tag with more sheets of rain. If Tuesday is your day off, I hope you have a good one.

Café Life

Bread 'Fête' at the Hôtel de Ville

The Fête du Pain sneaked up on me again and installed itself in two big tents in the place in front of the Hôtel de Ville, where they will stay until Thursday. You can see dough being transformed into bread, grain, and other bread-related yeasts from 9:00 to 18:00. Don't miss the free bread either.

This started on Saturday or Sunday. On Sunday, Daniel Vaillant, ex-mayor of Montmartre and more recently, Minister of the Interior, checked out the Butte's boulangeries on Sunday before taking the specially-conscripted Montmartre train down the hill, all the way to the Hôtel de Ville.

Roll, Roller, Rolling

With the improvement in the weather, the roller people are back in force. The start time remains at 22:00 on Fridays, but the launch pad has switched to the place in front of the Gare Montparnasse. As before, the evening's 'rando' takes three hours to complete, to end where it started.

Rolling around in Paris at night with thousands of other people on wheels is not for beginners. Police clear the way, first aid and ambulances are on hand, but the city-wide tours are more like marathons than casual skating in a park.

There is also a less strenuous Sunday edition, which I believe starts out from the area of the Bastille at 14:30.photo: wine taster Yesterday 10,000 rollers cruised around Paris in a unit called 'Roll'heures' to benefit victims of Alzheimer's disease.

Midget water-taster in the wine section at the Foire de Paris.

The RATP métro and bus people also rent bikes, in a program called 'Roue Libre.' They have a bus full of bikes for rent parked on Sundays in the Avenue Victoria, overlooked by the Hôtel de Ville. Get more information - from last year, with last year's rates - some of which may be out of date. Also see this week's 'Scene' column.

Sidewalk Messages

In my quartier, there is a mysterious messenger going around leaving short messages on the sidewalks. They say, 'Je t'aime' or 'Amour' or something equally harmless but nice thoughts all the same.

When the messages get worn down a bit by the passage of many feet, the mysterious messenger repaints them. He or she must use some sort of template, because the repaint jobs are very nearly exactly on top of the old ones.

Before the messages, somebody was painting small colored flowers on the sidewalks. Most of these have worn away now. Whether flowers or messages, this form of graffiti seems to benefit Parisians, and doesn't seem to harm the sidewalks much.

Systematic Blues

Metropole is produced using some pretty old equipment. It is a good thing that making pages for the Web doesn't require a heavy-duty printing press, a lot of paper or much ink. The main machine is slow, but this isn't serious.

Storing the original photos takes a lot of space though. I can get these off the machine by putting them on CD-ROMs, but it is really handy to have all of Metropole's text available for searches. [Metropole's text alone amounts to either 282 Mo or 371 Mo of disk space, totalling 3492 documents.]

So, before old-time hard disks become unavailable, I got a new, big hard disk to work with my old system. But my old system couldn't handle this new size properly, so I had to get a newer system for the whole kaboodle.

The first thing I found out was that the new system's utilities couldn't set up the new hard disk anyphoto: basque sausages, onions, tomatos better than the old system. I only found this out after backing everything up, so I was halfway committed to making the switch.

A year's worth of hot sausages from the eastern Pyrenees.

The new system, which is two generations old, is very spiffy. It is also 'user-friendly.' It automatically configured itself to dial up companies and their Web sites. Ones I don't need. It has taken a lot of fooling around to get rid of this nonsense.

It has taken a lot of fooling around to get rid of a lot of the cosmetic 'spiffiness' too. It has taken its time to re-install everything necessary. The new system hasn't liked some of this, and it doesn't always start up without a couple of hiccups.

It will need months of fiddly 'tuning' until it becomes as reliable as the 'old' system, which ran non-stop for a couple of years. I suppose five or six whole days spent on this operation is nothing compared to the years of trouble-free operation - that I hope to have.

I just wish I could have used those configuration days for something else - like replying to your emails.

Café Metropole Club 'Updates'

If you missed reading last Thursday's club meeting 'report' catch up with club news by hitting this link to the 'Best Friends' Plus One, Minus One' report.

The coming meeting of the Café Metropole Club will be on Thursday, 16. May. The club's 'Saint's Day of the Week' next Thursday is Saint-Honoré's day. Some days have two or three saints and others have ones that I don't know anything about.

Readers with a desire to become real club members can scan the few minor details about this free club in 18 seconds by reading the large-sized fine-print on the 'About the Club' page.

Joining is really easy. Do it by simply being here! Being here on a Thursday called Ascension is even better and every year has at least onephoto: taxi bike, notre dame, sunday of these. Keeping up with club 'news' is even easier, because the reports about it go online right after the meetings and you can read them in this magazine, which is also online.

The pedalo-taxis are back this year, to compete with the rickshaws.

Record 'Metropole Paris' as one of your favorite bookmarks to save yourself typing out its overly-long name every time you feel like reading a club report, or a regular edition like this one.

Metropole's Affiliates

The following product or service providers have chosen Metropole because their offers may be of value to you and I agree with them.

'Bookings' has extended their reservation service for a wide selection of Paris hotels. Check out their wider offers and make your choice long before your arrival in France. Try this one. Other Metropole readers have.

'HighwayToHealth' provides a 'city health profile' for Paris as well as travel insurance. If youphoto: sign on sidewalk, amour have signed up for these services before you need them suddenly, you will benefit from them. I hope won't be the case, but 'Things Happen.'

'Petanque America' exports quality Obut boules from France and will ship them to you anywhere in the Americas - which will save you the effort of carrying them all the way from Paris. Be the first on your block to introduce the game of pétanque - or boules. Everybody can play this game, nearly anywhere - such as on any vacant lot covered with suitable dirt.

This Was Metropole One Year Ago:

Issue 6.20 - 14. May 2001 - This issue started with the week's Café Metropole column, titled, 'Spring' Is Official But Short' and the 'Au Bistro' news column was titled, 'The 35-Hour Week 'Fiasco.' This issue had one feature titled 'Spring' Arrives In Time for Summer.' Dana Shaw sent an email about, a 'A Fragile Deux-Chevaux.' This issue's update for the Café Metropole Club meeting on 17. May was called the 'Nobody Is Perfect' Report. The week's 'Scene' column was titled, 'Dithering While Events Roll On.' There were four 'Posters of the Week' and Ric's Cartoon of the Week wasphoto: sign, square de l'abbe migne captioned, "Don't Trip Over a Pigeon." A photo page featured 'The Fontaine des Mers' in the Place de la Concorde.

This Was Metropole Two Years Ago

Issue 5.20 - 15. May 2000 - This week's Café Metropole column was short-titled, 'Lost Siestas.' The 'Au Bistro' column continued the short titles with 'Cash Panic.' This issue had two features, titled 'The Busy 'Mai des Montparnos' - Extra Events' and 'As American As... Food In America' by Adrian Leeds. The Café Metropole Club update for this issue on 19. May, asked 'Club's Café Haunted?' A club page announced, 'Vital Membership Issue Raised.' The 'Scene' column wagered with, 'Full-House Time.' The four new 'Posters of the Week' were on view and Ric's Cartoon of the Week had the caption of 'Cash Panic!' Again.

'Countdown of the Week'

There are several important upcoming dates that could be suitable 'countdown' candidates - besides a whole slew of actual candidates about to pop up soon - but if I put all of them in it will just get too confusing and they may all be discounted, if not ignored outright.

As of today, there are only 232 days remaining in this year. This means the 'euro 3 signuro' currency has been around for a wholephoto: expo bread, hotel de ville, sunday 133 days now, long enough for you to figure them out. Café Metropole Club members all agree that mental currency conversions are now much easier - especially since the euro 3 signuro has climbed up to about 91 cents.

One of the bread tents in front of the Hôtel de Ville.

A countdown for Charles Lindbergh's solo arrival in Paris after a 33-hour flight from the United States is currently underway etc. etc.. He landed without a parachute or a visa for France at Le Bourget, on Saturday, 21. May 1927. This was 75 years ago and this anniversary is 9 days from today, but on a Tuesday.

Erik Lindbergh got tired of waiting for this date to come around and landed in Paris at Le Bourget on Thursday morning, 2. May, at 11:24, following his grandfather by slightly less than 75 years.

Wind your clocks right up real tight, turn over your trusty egg-timers, get any kind of marker to 'X'-out days on your calendars, and start your own home-made countdown. Especially if it is until the time you arrive in Paris, non-stop or not.
signature, regards, ric

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