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 screwdriver.

After the commands he'd given France Télécom it was my turn. "You gotta clear away this entire wall," he said, gesturing at a pile of cabinets and bookshelves, stretching the whole length of the living room. "I need access to put in the wire."

Yeah, well, lucky for me I haven't unpacked and stored much away. On the other hand, I have to wait a whole week more before I can do it. Luckily I expect to live here forever.

He put some bubblegum or something on the connection so both our phones would work. Before leaving, he made it clear again that he wanted a free field of movement next Wednesday - to bore holes in walls, make a mess and string cable to his heart's delight.

The 'good news' is that I've found I set up my editorial slot wrong. Since I have to pull this apart for Joe anyway, I'll be able to put it back together the way it should be.

The only danger is that in doing this I am going to have to de-cable the computer and re-cable it again. I should look on this as a chance to get it right - if it happens to be wrong the way I did it last week.

If you feel like phoning next Wednesday the phone should work fine. However, if a grouch answers, just remember I am probably having a 'nuit blanche.'

The Real 'Good News'

Last week I was out walking around somewhere here and I noticed I had a spring to my step. I thought, 'Golly, it feels good, this springiness. I haven't felt like this in a long time.'

It is a real relief to only have two jobs now. No more apartment hunting. All I have to do is Metropole, and get it online.

Oh, I have to unpack and move in. One morning last week I had the 'springiness' even before I got out of bed. So much so that I moved a whole half-wall's worth of cabinets and shelving 30 centimetres north before having a shower and breakfast, which are always the first things I do every day.

I think it must have been last Thursday. I recaptured that 30 centimetres and went to the Café Metropole Club and had a good time and did the 'report' and got it online without hassles. This is what 'springiness' can do for a person.

The 'Mois de la Photo' Page

This is planned to be in this issue, but I am not going to stay up until 03:00 to get it done. I want to have a 'springy' beginning tomorrow. You can expect the photo program to be online, probably late on Tuesday. The same cannot be said for the 'Au Bistro' page.

Café Metropole Club 'Updates'

Hit this link to the "Paris Is Almost Normal" report, even if you are not interested in whether Paris is normal, or if you prefer it not to be.

Real readers who want to become truly real club members can skim the meager details concerning thisphoto: terrace cafe la corona free club in sixteen seconds or less by reading the fine-sized large-print on the 'About the Club' page, and maybe clawing the virtual membership card right off the screen.

Joining this club - your own club after all! - is almost as easy. All you have to do is be in Paris on a Thursday. Any one next week or next year will do.

The club's café on one of its better days.

The coming meeting of the Café Metropole Club will be on Thursday, 17. October. The club's 'Saints' Day of the Week' next Thursday is Saint-Baudouin. As reported in last Thursday's 'report,' Saint-Renaud is not next Thursday's saint after all. His day would have been on Tuesday, 17. September, but club days are never on Tuesdays.

If you happen to be a Loto player, I suggest playing '17' the next time you do it. With five other perfect numbers, you'll be glad you did.

Save 'Metropole Paris' as one of your all-time favorite bookmarks to avoid mistyping 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.

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'HighwayToHealth' provides a 'city health profile' for Paris as well as travel insurance. If you 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. Anybody can play this game, nearly anywhere - such as on any bit of ground covered with suitable dirt.

This Was Metropole One Year Ago:

Issue 6.42 - 15. Oct 2001 - This issue began with the Café Metropole column, 'Not Sweet, Not Short.' The 'Au Bistro' column's headline was 'Old, 'Frozen,' News.' This issue had one feature titled 'Light' From Hungary Is Brighter Than You Think.' The update for the Café Metropole Club meeting on 18. October was called the 'The 'No Rules' Report' report for want of anything cleverer thing to call it. The week's 'Scene' column was headlined 'Christmas Starts Early.' The week's new four 'Posters ofphoto: sign, rue daguerre the Week' were on view again and Ric's 'Cartoon of the Week' had the caption, 'Our Illuminated Lion.'

This Was Metropole Two Years Ago

Issue 5.42 - 16. Oct 2000 - This week's Café Metropole column mentioned 'Last Week's Weather Replays.' The 'Au Bistro' column's headline was 'Bouchon, Eviction, Suspension.' There were two features, titled 'The Other Victor Hugo - At Home' and 'Anyone for Jeu de Paume?' The Café Metropole Club update for this issue on 19. October, was called the 'Not 'No One At the Club' report. The 'Scene' column's headline was 'The (Nearly) Full Fall Program.' The four brand new 'Posters of the Week' were featured and Ric's Cartoon of the Week had the caption of 'Bring a Chicken!'

Ridiculous Substitute Count-Down

Now that the silly 'count-down of the year' is out of the way, I think it is safe to resume the regular program of serious count-downs. I could have given this a lot of careful thought if I hadn't been so 'springy' but I didn't, so I substitute the number of days left to go until we get a new year, which for the purposes of this 'count-down' will be 2003. The number of days left to go is 78.

The recent 'count-down' contest winner is John Motta who sent in the closest guess for the number of days it would take me to find a new apartment. John lives in a PO Box in New Hampshire and he says that his method of reckoning the number of 'count-down' days is aphoto: photo, line wearing prize hat closely guarded secret. I think he is also using the number to play the Loto.

One of my preoccupations last week was to acquire John's genuine Metropole prize. You can see it for yourself at the left, modelled by Line, who graciously broke away from painting waves to stand out in the pouring rain on her terrace, to wear a genuine Metropole prize hat.

Newer readers may not know and long-time readers may have forgotten, but when Metropole does have a rare contest it does have winners and winners get real prizes.

If I ever ask you to make contributions to Metropole via 'PayPal,' just remember that it would enable the magazine to have lots of contests, with wonderful prizes. Some could even be without Metropole's snazzy logo on them.
signature, regards, ric

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