Truly, Finally Wired

photo: cafe terrace

A café's terrace waits for its hardy evening crowd.

With Only a Buzzer To Go

by Ric Erickson

Paris:- Monday, 3. February 2003:- Since last week's unseasonable and very rare high - for January! - the situation in the weather department has returned to normal, even if it is worse than normal.

We had - was it Thursday? - an Orange warning for snow to begin in Paris at 16:00. It tried mighty hard, but it didn't really happen. Oh, out in the sticks, where the Cadillac Ranch is located, the server-lady Linda Thalman said there were a few centimetres of white stuff, but she didn't say anything about shovelling it.

It did snow around Paris, but outside it. The last real blizzard left memories of thousands of stranded of cars on impassable highways all night long - so this time all trucks possible were pulled off roads - so some of their drivers could spend all night in them, stranded by the authorities.

In general, daytime temperatures are yo-yoing between near freezing and ten degrees. Winds are comingphoto: horse butcher from the Atlantic, either from the warmer southwest or the colder northwest, and these are washing across the country like endless waves, with usually a couple per day.

My memory of tonight's TV-weather forecast for Tuesday is foggy, because it looked like a can of worms in the morning and an upsidedown can of worms in the afternoon. If you stay out all day, you'll get wet sometime, unless you are in the métro.

Somebody eats horses, but I don't know who.

The rest of the week - ah, I don't remember. The forecast only went to Thursday and it was no winner, following a loser of a Wednesday. Let me just say, what we have here is a 'real' winter, one that is worse than the 'usual' unreal winters we've had for the past several years.

For this reason I refuse to predict the usual February week of super-bright skies with lower than normal temperatures. This year, I don't think we are going to get any crystal-clear days in February. Maybe we will have a hot August instead. There hasn't been one of these for about a decade.

Despite irrational weather forecasts, I bet that next Friday will be very sunny - because I'll be inside all afternoon at the Rétromobile old car and junk show. Last year, perversely, it rained like a monsoon on this salon's opening day.

To sum up - how to dress for this season in Paris - a lot of people on the streets have their wet-suits on, and their hoods are up.

Café Life

In the Stalled Lane

After a shattered week, the week before last, I was looking forward to an interesting one with lots of Café Life. First, I missed my rendez-vous with the market last Tuesday morning but it couldn't be helped because something is wrong with my Internet connection. Spam comes down from it fast, but itty-bitty little Metropole goes up very very slowly - usually between 03:00 and 05:00.

With nothing much to eat in the larder, I went off in the rain in the afternoon to do my laundry. This included New York dirt, plus a short week's worth of Paris grit, so it was a big job. It was near dark when I finished.

My landlord called, to ask me if the building's syndic had sent me my mailbox key. I told him they are still in Panama. Then he offered to pay me a visit because he'd arranged to have somebody come by and install a door-buzzer. I asked him to knock extra loud when he came.

We had a nice visit together even though no door-buzzer guy showed up. He said I should get up extra early because the TV antenna guy was coming on Thursday - at 9:00.

Amazingly this person did come, and did turn on the building's TV antenna. It took him 15 minutes. For some mysterious reason the antenna's incoming slot is in the tiny bedroom where no TV will fit in, and the TV is in the living room where there is no antenna slot.

The antenna guy said he was only told to activate the reception. Nobody told him to connect it to the TV. We foundphoto: chicken street food some old antenna cables I inherited, strung them through the apartment like a clothesline - hey! I needed a clothesline - and the TV worked better than with no antenna.

He was gone by 9:30, leaving me alone and awake with a part of the day when I am usually asleep. This had been a one-time chance to get TV reception, so I had actually gotten up before sunrise. This was one with blue skies - not like the one a week before, after an all night flight from New York.

Meanwhile, the whole rest of the world is chicken-crazy.

I thought, 'this is another one-time chance to get rid of these leftover moving cartons.' And this I did. Then I had to remember to buy extra food on account of living this extra part of a day. It came in handy when I got around to uploading the week's club 'report' from 02:00 to 03:00 on Friday.

Friday, according to weather forecasts, was to be the week's best day, but the best I could do was get to the marché just before it closed. This is a lot better than getting to it after it closes. But either way, Friday is late in the week to start Metropole's reporting about Paris.

This didn't matter too much because I had a photo to take care of at Bastille. In the course of doing this, I found other photos and they seemed to be adding up to a theme and I was feeling pretty good about how this could turn into a feature without me thinking it up beforehand.

By the time it was getting dim I was close to the BHV department store and its hardware basement, and something just dragged me into it, to get some electrical odds and ends.

In fact, I had a list in my pocket. If you don't have a list when you go into the BHV, you are likely to come out with picnic table complete with a relaxo lounge chair. You can't come out without something, because the BHV has more than everything - and you need some of it.

But with the list handy, all I got were two TV antenna cables and an adapter for the camera battery charger I gotphoto: pig of iron in New York. Pay attention here - in order to recharge batteries in New York I needed something that could operate on lowball US electricity, but when I got the charger, I saw it had '110-220 volts' written on it. But its prongs wouldn't fit a French 220 volt power source.

Guarding a butcher shop - a pig of iron.

Ah - the attention part - the US-model charger, for AA batteries only, is made by Energizer and it cost me $40. BHV has an Energizer charger, for only 34 euros, and it'll charge AAA, AA, B1, BB, iBOP, Bee-Bop, and XYZ batteries. It was a big, weird-looking thing, and I don't know if it is smart enough to do 110-220 volts too. The plug-adapter for my US-model cost nine euros.

When I'd paid for these treasures, I started looking at the 'on sale' garden furniture and the relaxo chair. But I had my list, and it was complete. So I went home and did the day's photos most of the night, if you include all the emails I've fallen behind with, too.

Where Is Sally Ann Howe?

The food I skipped buying Saturday morning I never did get because I ran into Dimitri in the Bouquet. He was just finishing having lunch, with his pal, the playwriter.

Last week Dimitri asked me to look up 'Phlippe Sommer' on the Web. He is a young and famous artist, but the Web does not seem to know this. If you try this, Dimitri is not looking for any racing driver with the same name.

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