Real 'Good News'

photo: cafe le pierrot, la motte piquet

Although it was in the past, there was good weather
here. Hope for the future.

Fictional Fall Weather

by Ric Erickson

Paris:- Monday, 14. October 2002:- If anything, my reception of TV-weather news has gotten worse during the week. It is really hard to figure out what is going to be going on when the weather map looks like it is going to disappear in a black and white blizzard, and the audio portion has drop-outs.

I guess you are expecting me to look out the window again. Aside from it being pitch dark outside, the novelty has worn off, mainly because I am supposed to be writing this and not looking out of the window.

To tell the truth, I would prefer looking out the window, but instead - but, this is a 'Café Life' item. Instead - I think the TV-weather news said that big winds are to blow on Brittany but I didn't quite catch what they will do after making it breezy out west. Go north? Boomerang?

Falling back on this morning's Le Parisien, I think I can say it might be a bit grey in the Paris area tomorrow. It was nice up until Saturday and I thought Sunday might be too, but it wasn't and today wasn't either.

Sunny periods and high - for 'the time of year' - temperatures are predicted for Wednesday. No weather at all is forecast for the Paris region on Thursday. Friday will depend on how much on an invasion of crummy skies there are from the west.

In short, the future of the weather here is about as confused as it always is - regardless of whether I see the forecast on TV or in Le Parisien.

Years of experience tell me to tell you that it will be better than predicted because it is seldom worse than predicted, and hardly ever as bad as predicted. And even 'bad' is not really 'bad' - not if you've ever lived in a town where it rains 183 days a year and is mostly cloudy the rest of the time.

Café Life

Several More 'Nuits Blanches'

I certainly didn't expect to put out much of an issue last week and even then, it was less than expected. Then, to make things worse, what little I did manage to do wouldn't go online.

With the little I had finished when I had it finished, I was patting myself on the back and looking forwardphoto: my new home to restarting life fresh and 'springy' last Tuesday - when a perfectly reliable method for putting the magazine online utterly failed.

I couldn't believe it. I kept retrying it, switching things around, and it kept flopping - and before I knew it, it was 03:00 on Tuesday - just as if I'd chugged through with an 'Au Bistro' column with my eyelids propped up with cocktail toothpicks.

By popular request - a photo of my new building.

As a last resort, I emailed the text and image files to the server-lady, Linda Thalman. This has been done occasionally before. But something has happened at her place too - and she no longer has the access she once had to Metropole's server.

After getting some new software - really nifty stuff - but without knowing what I accidently did 'right,' the small issue got 'network' some time on Wednesday. This was enough to give me a fair confidence that the following day's club 'report' would go online too.

But the troubling aspect of it is, it is not really a good time to relax about a thing like this when there no answer to the 'why' it didn't work in the first place. And now, when so many more changes have been made - without knowing if they are right or wrong - there is no way to get back to the relatively stable state of the way things were.

Normally I wouldn't write about this sort of nuisance, except for one reason. It has simply taken hour after frustrating hour to get exactly nowhere. Hours spent doing this are not spent living 'Café Life.'

Once upon a time not so many years ago it was possible to 'look under the hood' of a computer's software system and 'jiggle the wires' a bit to get things working again.

In fact, many Apple Macintosh 'users' used these machines because you could do exactly this, and it became an end in itself. It was more fun to endlessly tune the thing than to do any work with it.

For me those days ended forever when I started doing this magazine. There just isn't enough time to do both the 'tuning' and the work.

My troubles started before my recent move. Last spring I got a bigger harddisk and then found out the Mac needed a newer system in order to handle the bigger disk. Luckily I found a newer system about five versions behind the very latest one.

What I hadn't reckoned on was that Apple decided years ago that Mac users had gotten too smart or too stupid to fiddle with their systems, so they put in all this automatic-installer stuff so that a non-Microsoft fan has his machine phone up Microsoft if he is careless enough to leave the modem turned on.

It took me weeks to get rid of this stuff or disable it. You know, remember at the time I had three jobs. Doing Metropole, looking for an apartment - and wrestling with this computer mess. 'Café Life' was in the pits.

Just before the move the machine was running around about 80 percent stable. Starting it was like doing it with a nearly flat battery when it is cold out. But once it got running, usually on the third try, it ran okay all day.

The move 'jiggled' something loose. I plugged it in and it didn't 'play.'

The Good News

Last Wednesday there was a loud bangingphoto: local resto on my reinforced steel-framed door full of bank-vault bolt-shafts. As in the last apartment, the civilized door buzzer doesn't work. The other one did work, but stopped at some unknown time. The new one has a button outside, but there does not seem to be any ding-a-ling thing inside.

This local restaurant only has cute bunnies on the menu.

To make my new door sound like it is being knocked, you need to be a big Joe. When I opened the door there was a big Joe outside.

He said, "Does your phone work?" I said it did, although I couldn't remember getting any phone calls. I knew I got and sent emails even if I couldn't get Metropole uploaded to the network - so I guessed the phone worked. Enough, anyway.

The Joe plunged inside and tried the phone. It worked. Then he went to my neighbor's apartment. Next time I looked out there were a pile of bricks in the hall and a chair was perched on them. In horror, I saw the telecoms box high up on the wall with its cover off and wires hanging out of it like thin, colored strands of spaghetti.

Next thing, the Joe was asking me if I had a stepladder. I don't have one of these. The movers broke the one I had, during the previous move three years ago.

Then my neighbor was out in the hall while Joe was up on the chair poking a screwdriver at the tangle of spaghetti. We introduced ourselves - he said he was happy somebody finally moved in.

Apparently, when the uniformed, small Joe from France Télécom came last Friday and turned my line on, he turned my neighbor's half-off.

According to my new neighbor we both have the same landlord and are living in one flat that wasphoto: sporty junk on my doorstep made into two - and the original phone line goes into the neighbor's apartment before coming into mine.

"This is no good!" the big Joe on the chair grumbled. He got off the chair without killing himself and used my phone to shout at France Télécom, telling them a completely new line had to be installed in my place.

It's the kind of 'quartier' with only sporty junk. An escargot you peddle to get nowhere.

Joe, I saw when I looked him carefully, was wearing a faded pale blue polo shirt with 'France Télécom' stitched faintly on it. Otherwise, he was wearing standard Joe-type corduroy pants. His entire toolkit seemed to consist of one crewdriver.

Continued on page 2...
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