A Blogged Week

photo: cafe le select, mpntparnasse

Already - a summer like - August 1914.

With a Change of Email

by Ric Erickson

Paris:- Monday, 30. June 2003:- Last Tuesday morning the birds started to tweet-up the coming sunrise about a half hour before it peeked over the Fondation Cartier in the Boulevard Raspail. Before, it showed the sky was all blue, and then it got fiery red, right in the centre of the sunball.

I have seen this more than once lately. It means - one, there have been a lot of blue-sky sunrises in Paris this year, and two, I have been up to see some of them. And I have seen enough. For this reason, this issue will have modest contents, beginning with the weather.

The Weather

On more than a few days last week, the thermometre in Paris topped out at about 30 degrees, which is about 83 or 84 on the other type of non- metrical thermometre.

For a change of pace, rain-on-the-face woke me this morning quite a long time before breakfast. Whenphoto: tennis, luxembourg, sunday breaking my morning bread finally arrived, it was still raining a bit. This is good for everything green in Paris. You don't have to be a greenie to appreciate this.

Anyone for tennis - in the Luxembourg garden on Sunday.

Both today's Le Parisien and tonight's TV-weather news are in agreement for a change. They both forecast fairly typical July weather of mostly cloudy with occasional passages of rain, and temperatures no higher than 22 degrees.

Le Parisien calls Thursday's forecast 'incompréhensible,' for summer holidayers if they aren't wedged into a tiny corner of south-east France, along the coast of the Mediterranean.

Perhaps, just perhaps, next Friday will see a return to reason - with most of France being partly sunny and temperatures in the north hovering around 23 degrees.

Café Life

A Blog of a Week that Was

You already know I lived through the sunrise on the day of my weekend last Tuesday. You might think I am a spry chicken, but I really needed to get a little sleep before hitting the old freelife, and this I did until it was time to go to the marché and get some peanuts.

Then I did my other weekend chores for a few hours. At the end of these, I chanced to meet a building cleaner - 'of the week' - and although he said he was only a 'temp' at my building, he did have a garbage-room key.

This was the very same 'lost key' to getting access to the cable that would allow me to not only change Internet access providers, but to get it via Internet-cable.

The guy offered to lend me the key so I could have a duplicate made, so I ran off to do this in the steaming heat, and got his original key back to him before he finished washing the building.

As I was giving it back, one of my floor neighbors stepped out and asked me if I had any luck findingphoto: creperie, rue montparnasse the key. How sweet it was to show him the very missing object. Better yet, the duplicate key worked.

At the café Bouquet that evening I saw Dennis, reading a book as usual. Before I could tell him my great 'key' story, he said he had to go. Matt Rose came in with a Nicolas bag to match Dennis,' and they snuck off because I hadn't been invited to the dinner they were going to.

Frankly, my spry-chicken feathers were wilting, and continuing my weekend quietly wasn't a bad idea. Twelve hours later I did not see Wednesday's sunrise, but the rest of the day was a hot as my weekend the day before and I didn't break any productivity records. The main thing I couldn't decide to do was phone the Internet-cable people and ask them to send their installer.

Thursday was, as usual, the Café Metropole Club meeting day and had weather like Wednesday and my weekend. Club members came before the meeting, during it, and after it - and later on it took more time than usual to sort it out into a carefully composed 'report' with hardly any major gaffs.

Friday's first surprise was having weather the same as the three previous days. The second surprise was not getting 'authorization' to my Internet dial-up account. Flaky they've been getting, but this was a minor 'first' for Worldnet.

Although I've had this provider since 1995 I am not sentimental about it. They've already said they are to close the line in August. But I hadn't called the Internet-cable installer - and Matt Rose advised me against it anyway - and all of the rest of the DSL providers require a plug-hole my new-but-used computer doesn't have - so I turned to France Télécom.

I did this once before, when I moved to Paris from the suburbs in 1999. I thought it was a way to get a new, faster, modem, for free - but all their automatic installer software got me at the time was exactly one connection. And the modem itself couldn't be reconfigured to the Worldnet account.

But, on Friday, time was slipping away. I needed a modem with a wire that would fit my computer's port-hole. A look in the phone book showed one of France Télécom's boutiques nearby, so over to it I went.

Yes, the young lady said, I could have a modem with the right wire - but instead of 'free' it would cost me a bit extra. Not remembering the experience in 1999, I grabbed it. She said I could hook it up right away, but the access to high-speed wouldn't happen until early this weeK. 'No matter,' I thought, 'Just so long as this magazine gets online somehow.'

Back at the editorial office, hooking up the modem to power and to my new-but-used computer took three minutes and 22 seconds. The installer program on the CD-ROM provided with the DSL modem installed the software in less than a minute, then stopped.

It didn't dial up anything to complete the process. No magic 'Network!' sign. Crikey! Nigel was right! Getting this thing going is going to take two months - just as he said on 21. May before flying back to Oz.

On top of it, I was running this modem installer on a brand-new, for me, unconfigured late-model operating system. The ones you know are a hassle to hand-configure, because the software is designed to prevent it - plus I have no user manual other than the system's 'help,' which does not have a big vocabulary, not even in French.

I quit before the birds woke up on Saturday. Later in the day, it was not with enthusiasm that I turned the thing on. But the gremlins must have done something overnight, because on the first try got 'Network!' before I even had a chance to fiddle the software.

I couldn't believe it. I am not Nigel's oldest son, the one in university with the computer science. I am hacker - in the original sense of the word 'hacker' - Rickieee, unknown serial-flop with ResEdit and other arcane estorica.

I turned it off. I turned it on again and it worked again. I logged on to the Wanadoo - not 'Wanafoo!' - Web sitephoto: doorway, av leclerc and created a new email account, and set up the beginnings of a personal Web site. 'Ten megabytes of server-space available, with a maximum of ten pages allowed.' Aha! Each page one mega-worth? Ils sont fous, ces Wanafoos.

Er yes. Well. Hmm. There is, was, a whole new operating system to configure too. There are over 3500 pages of Metropole that need the 'mailto:' changed. Overdue are changes to the About Metropole and the About Café Metropole Club pages.

The deal I got allows for higher-speed for two months, which I can afford, and after the promotion period is over what I can afford will be a lot slower - but it will still be pretty fast, and it can be 'online' all the time, without affecting the phone bill - perhaps, all-in-all, totalling no more than an average phone bill plus the cost for dial-up access.

On Saturday I let the 'Marche des Fiertés Lésbiennes, Gaies, Bi et Trans' - 'LGBT' for short, but Le Parisien still calls it 'Gay Pride' - pass, and I did not take the first Air France flight to Algiers in nine years, nor did I go to Rouen for the grand 'Armada' of sailing ships, or see Cameroon vs France play football on Sunday.

Sunday started out hot and it got hotter. After hours of twiddle and tweak, I had to go out, if for no other reason than to get some 'photos of the week.'

It has been the weekend - for others - of the first 'grand départ' of the summer. Since we have been having summer weather in Paris for some time now, the difference here seems to be fewer people, but more drowsy on the terraces, almost like a postcard from the past.

Then, obviously, because it is the last day of June today, the weather has flopped over to 'typical for July.' Since I have nearly all of Metropole to do that is going to get done, I recklessly decide if is a perfect day to defrost my refrigerator.

Metropole's 'mailto:' Change

Please read the following carefully. The new email address for 'Ric,' 'Ed,' and the Café Metropole Club secretary is henceforth ericksonr@wanadoo.fr It may be ugly, but most of the time all you need to do is click it wherever you see my name, and a ready-to-go email form pops up.

To be on the safe side, even if you never intend to write, make a note of it and maybe put it in your address book. For doing this, I promise that if you never do write, I will not reply.

If case you have not read this important note carefully, do not worry. I will repeat it one way or another 3500 times.

For the Love of Dogs

Daguerréotypista Matt Rose convinced me I would be better off getting broadband, from 'Wanafoo' for example, rather than from the cablo- operator 'Noos,' so here is another plug for the group show he co-stars in, starting Wednesday.

See Matt's collages at the exhibition 'Pour l'Amour des Chiens,' along with other artists and their important paintings, photographs, sculpture and installations. From Wednesday, 2. July until Saturday, 30. August. Open Tuesday to Saturday from 10:30 to 18:15. At the Mona Bismarck Foundation, 34. Avenue de New York, Paris 16. Métro: Iéna or Alma- Marceau. InfoTel.: 01 47 23 38 38.

Be Kind to the Server-Lady Week II

This was a highly successful operation, aided by readers of this magazine and Linda Thalman's co-clubphoto: van of the week members, enhanced by the fact that the Cadillac Ranch has a garden for relaxing in after having had a collision with a horse.

Here at last - the 'Van of the Week.'

Both Linda's little Fiat and the horse survived the strange encounter, but the Fiat's damage is still being estimated. With the big Italian auto company about to lay off 12,000 workers, getting another bumper for her puddle-jumper this year has become less than a certainty.

As for the horse, I asked Linda if she had taken a souvenir photo of it. "No comment," was her terse reply. If you intended to have dealings with the server-lady this week, why not put it off for another one?

'About' Café Metropoleô Blanc de Blanc

Allan Pangborn, the maker of the Café Metropole Blanc de Blanc sparkling wine wrote to say that it can now be ordered online through the Moonlight Web site. It is really real, really.

Now that online ordering is possible, you will also be able to read the latest news about the wine on the Moonlight site. On this end I'm about to add an 'About Metropole's Wine' page that will tell a short version of the story, plus have a link identical to the URL above so that you can place orders easily - which I hope you will do.

Every bottle sold will clear out the space Allan needs for the next batch. He sent me a photo of a boxcar load of new empty bottles, so this appeal is not without foundation.

Café Metropole Club 'Reports'

Click this link slightly lightly to get last week's 'Spacy Ice Cream is Warm 'Food of the Week' club meeting report. Despite the warm weather, this was a heavily attended meeting, before, during and after.

The next meeting of the Café Metropole Club will be on Thursday, 3. July. The Saint's Dayphoto: photos, grille luxembourg of the Week will be Saint-Thomas. In my saints-book, this one is the name of two different places. One is in Canada north of Lake Erie and the other is a Virgin Island in the Caribbean.

On the grille outside the Luxembourg - another free photo show.

But, no alphabetical bingo this time! Oops, I'm looking at the wrong page. Of course, next Thursday's Saint-Thomas is none other than Didymus, of the Twelve Apostles, the one of doubt.

However, deeper research reveals that there are four Saint-Thomases. The one belonging to next Thursday is Saint Thomas More, who was beheaded by Henry VIII in the 16th century, and was only besainted in 1935.

A mere couple of slight details concerning the club can be found handily grouped on the self-contained 'About the Club' page, because there aren't more than a couple. The virtual membership card on this page is still as free as it was last week though.

This Was Metropole One Year Ago

Issue 7.27/28 - 1/8. July 2002 - The Café Metropole column was titled, 'Leftover Confetti and Empty Ping-Pong Balls.' The 'Au Bistro' column 'Fell Victim to Flat-Hunting Sports.' The feature of the week was titled 'Taking a Long View On a Clear Day.' The Café Metropole Club updates for this double issue on 4. July had a 'Martinique's One Season' report and on 11. July there was a 'A Bungle of a 'First' report. Since it was summer, the two Scene columns were titled, 'Two 'Scenes' for the Price of One' and 'Scenesphoto: sign, symbol, danger electrocution d'Eté - Some of It Is Free.' There were four new 'Posters of the Week' right on schedule and Ric's Cartoon was cleverly captioned, "HEY! It's France! Right on the nose!"

This Was Metropole Two Years Ago

Issue 6.27 - 2. July 2001 - This issue began with the Café Metropole column's 'Saved! The Bélière.' The 'Au Bistro' column had an item about 'Triple Jeopardy.' A lone feature, was titled, 'Villa Paris - Out In the Country In the City.' The update for the Café Metropole Club meeting on 5. July featured the boring 'Surprise' of the Week' report. The Scene column's contents were timely, with 'Paris Open 24/24, All Summer.' There were four dazzling new 'Posters of the Week' and Ric's 'Cartoon of the Week' was captioned 'Back To Normal.' Normal what?

'Mardi Noir' Ends Its Suspension

This will be disappointing news to all those intending to visit France for its vast selection of summer festivals.photo: sign, no dogs, meme tenus en laisse The government in its infinite wisdom, using the agency of the employers federation, has managed to cause theatrical stage workers to have grave doubts about their future pension plans.

The immediate result has been the sudden cancellation - so far - of a couple of important festivals, due to strikes or threats of them, right at the beginning of the incredibly rich summer program here.

The reason that the employers' federation is the bat-boy here is a technical one. The timing of the conflict could have only be chosen by dimwits - and these are not the performers and the backstage grunts, who are not all rich and famous stars of movies and TV.

Many smaller towns have a serious financial dependance on these popular once-a-year festivals. The economic consequences of the disruption of the festivals goes far beyond the future pensions of stage workers, who have precarious employment situations at the best of times.

For Indefatigable Countdown Fans

For openers, no 'count-up' is planned in here for Johnny Hallyday's planned opening of a dance hall in the Montparnasse area. After becoming infamous for conducting the longest silly count-down in the history of the world - by holding Metropole's own record-breaking 'count-down' to the year 2000 - I decline further distinctions along these lines.

With absolutely no minimum fanfare, the number of days left this year is 184. This may not make it seem like an overly long time since 2002, but who knows for certain? Otherwise it is nearly no time at all until fall, which is 'officially' only less than a quarter-year from the Saturday before last.
signature, regards, ric

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