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Some Bar Hopping

photo: cafe cascades elysees

On the Champs-Elysées, where some glitter is neon.

And Some Bungling

by Ric Erickson

Paris:- Monday/Tuesday, 81/2December 2003:- The best thing about being a bit late this week is that I can give you a later weather update, although it is still cold as rusty iron 20,000 leagues under the sea. To de precise, it is about three or four degrees, there's little wind, and it is sunny.

This is also predicted for Wednesday, by this morning's Le Parisien and last night's TV-weather news. TV put tormorrow's high at four degrees, but Le Parisien will only bet on two. Both sources agree that the high pressure will move east on Thursday, to be replaced by good old Atlantic regular weather - cloudy, rainy, but much much warmer.

How 'much' warmer is a state of mind. After a sunny day with two or four degrees, how would a 200 percent increase suit you? Both last night's TV-weather news and today's Le Parisien are unanimous in forecasting nine degrees for Thursday.

While I'm a day late with this, I might as well toss in Le Parisien's prediction for next Friday and Saturday. Both days might be kind of cloudy, kind of rainy at times, and kind of nine degrees - with the tip of Brittany stuck out in the Atlantic having a forecast high of 10 degrees.

Café Life

Tours of No Consequence

Life proceeded normally during the week with a Wednesday visit to the Champs-Elysées to get the program for January from the Paris Tourist Office, see the Christmas lights and take in the atmosphere just as darkness floated down on the avenue.

Not quite so usual, was Wednesday night. This involved dining in a Montparnasse oyster palace and visitsphoto: arcades champs elysees to several famous cocktail spas, starting with Le Select, passing through the Raspail Vert café, and hitting bottom in the Bistro 48 in the Rue Daguerre. At the end, I was full of sea water and too many cafés.

One of the Champs-Elysées' discrete malls.

Le Select's terrace was almost deserted - it wasn't late - and offered a splendid view of La Coupole across the boulevard and the passing traffic. A bus turns out of the Rue Vavin there, and every time one did the neons on Le Select's side of the street were reflected in the bus windows. I felt like sitting there for hours.

The Raspail Vert café has been praised by Dennis and Dimitri for its excellent lunches. But this café has been renovated since last summer. Therefore it is no longer desirable as far as these fans of old-time - say, '50s times - cafés are concerned.

I never knew it then. But it seems to me that a certain restraint was used, and the decor is inobtrusive and all of a piece - all in soft earth-tones. The seats of its comfy banquettes are done in light brown, which might be nearly the same color that was proposed for La Corona's famous renovation, and never happened. If there's anything wrong with the Raspail Vert café - aside from now having a 'happy hour' - is that it has nothing green except a few plants.

For a late-'40s style café-bar, you can't do better, or much worse, than the Bistro 48 which is in the Rue Daguerre, but not at number 48. I think '48' is its year-model. It was nearly deserted and a bit cool - proved by the steam rising from the barman's soup. The café's Christmas lights probably date from about ten years ago, because they've lost most of their colors. They cheerily keep them on year-round.

As usual, the whole day of Thursday was occupied with the Café Metropole Club and its members, and the production of the consequent 'report.' As a special exception, I never try to start this day early, because it invariably lasts a long time. But I got finished before too much Friday had passed.

Boring Nitty-Gritty

Metropole probably has two types of readers. One pays attention to the 'Scène' columns andphoto: faux fiat 500, real fiat 600, foto d fuss the other is annoyed that time spent on them is time lost to other features. It was probably Friday before I got around thinking about updating the two existing columns, and creating the 'Eves' column from scratch.

'Faux' Fiat 500, seen by Doug Fuss in Skopje, Macedonia.©

But first, I had to give the HTML code another complete check. The additions over the past weeks had to harmonised - to conform to the changes and corrections already made and online. I didn't reach the goal of zero errors, but there only remains one small but fundamental step left to do. For editorial reasons, the final step is not planned for the next issue.

I left the week's final photos for taking on Sunday. Quite by chance it was very sunny and very cold, partly due to the stiff breeze. I did the minimum tour possible and returned to the somewhat cool apartment. Its big window is nice, but not in certain wind directions.

The Bungle of the Week

You won't see any of these Sunday photos in this issue. After 55 months of non-stop use, the camera's cable connecting it to the computer, gave up the ghost. This left the photos locked inside the wrong box.

No amount of fiddling, jiggling, changing ports or re-starts, made any difference. What a schmozzle! The camera works fine. Folks thinking of buying digital cameras should consider that, even with constant use, they will likely work well as long as any other kind of camera. But their simple wire cables may not.

And, after 55 months, trying to get a replacement cable, on a Sunday, is no easy matter. Maybe there are no replacement cables. Anyhow, plunge forward and do what can be done - even if the scanner keeps the neighbors awake.

Two 'Good Lucks' of the Week

The first came last Thursday, from Café Metropole Club member and long-time reader, Doug Fuss. On a mission to Skopje in Macedonia, he spied what he thought was the lost graveyard of Fiat 500s, and he thoughtfully sent three photos of them. "Here they are disguised as Zastrava's but they look like, walk like and talk like the 500s so they must be!"

However, his Fiat 500-spotting talent turned out to be slightly off. All the photos were of the ultra-rare Fiat 600 - or, could be, Zastrava 600s - and one was probably an original Fiat, because of its Hamburg plates. Unless it was an export model. All the same, Doug gets an 'A+' for being on the lookout and thinking of Metropole readers hungry for their 'Fiat 500 of the Week.'

The second good luck of the week came yesterday, from Jim Auman, a Café Metropole Club memberphoto: faux snow, real snow in nj, 33 cm, foto j auman and long-time reader who lives in New Jersey. Jim wrote:

"Attached is a photo of the unofficial, non-Metropole-approved non-Euro-approved snow measuring stick showing the total snowfall in the lands west of Paris. With some modifications it could be used to show the amount of Beaujolais Nouveau or depth of the sand at Paris Plage."

Real deep snow, seen by Jim Auman, in deepest New Jersey.©

The 'measuring stick' clearly shows - at the photo's original size - that the depth of snow is 13.25 inches, or 33.5 Eurocentrics. The New York area was hit with one of the earliest and biggest snowfalls in weather history over the weekend, and selected Metropole readers lived to tell the tale.

Jim gets an 'A+' for being on the lookout for snow depth in his backyard and thinking of Metropole readers anxious to see the first 'Snowfall of the Week' to dump on the New York City area.

Rooms to Let Online - 50¢ Etc, Yet Again

Metropole's Lodging page is still online and in this issue. Nobody seemed to believe this would ever get done - myself included - but all have been proved mistaken.

This is likely to be a high-traffic page. Listing your apartment or house for rent on it will have a good chance of getting the results you want. Don't think about all the extra fiddly work this will be for me - think of it as a way to fill your rooms and make 'Ed' into a near-normal citizen who can afford an occasional café at Le Select.

Unlike Metropole Paris and the Café Metropole Club, listing your property in Metropole is not 'free.' Rates for your listing will be reasonable - especially considering that your announcement will be seen by many people 'just like you' - some who are other club members who you have already met at club meetings. If you have a Web site for your apartment, your listing in Metropole will link to it.

Write today to enquire about details. The exact conditions have not been fixed yet, but they have advanced beyond zero. Your suggestions will be welcome too.

'Shareware' Is Metropole's Only Version

Readers and club members are invited to voluntarily pay a 'shareware fee' for Metropole. If you value Metropole, then you might be able to contribute according to its worth to you - and to ensure that its publication continues.

Nobody wants you to 'donate' anything to 'Ed.' The 'share-magazine-ware fee' is not for a subscription withphoto: daguerre maree a secret-code access to an exclusive part of the magazine either. Metropole remains a single-version magazine with unlimited access for all. The Café Metropole Club remains just as free as it's always been.

Wet shopping in Paris, last week.

'Keeping Metropole flying' is simple. You can send your contributions today by hitting this link to the 'support Metropole' page.

Metropole's 'support' page will link you to 'Kagi' - Metropole's 'software retailer.' When you get Kagi's 'Metropole' page, insert any amount you feel like. The rest of the procedure is like buying anything else via the Internet. But with one difference - you can voluntarily contribute any amount you feel comfortable with. Whatever it is, you'll get 'Ed's 'thanks' in a return email, and 'Ed' will make sure you do.

Café Metropole Club 'Reports'

Sock it to this link to have a look at last week's 'Patagonia and Detour Village' club 'report.' Having two 'Cities of the Week' was narrowly averted by a mean-minded club secretary, by a whisker.

A couple of insignificant details concerning the club can all be found on the 'About the Club' page. The raggedy but shining new club membership card shown on this page is free, so long as you print it for yourself and your neighbors. The card is valid for your whole lifetime worldwide, but ultra-valid in Paris.

The next meeting of the Café Metropole Club will be on Thursday, 11. December. The Saint's Day of the Week will be Saint-Daniel, which is spelled the same in English. My saint's book has no reference to this one, but the other part of the name book has a 'Daniel,' who was carted off to Babylon, where he was appreciated by Nabuchodonosor, but so disliked by some flunkies that he was tossed into the moat where the lions were parked.

As an exceptional exception, but mainly because the club's café, La Corona, will be closed, there will be no meeting of the Café Metropole Club on Christmas Day, Thursday, 25. December.

This Was Metropole One Year Ago

Issue 7.50 - 9. Dec 2002 - The issue began grandly enough with the Café Metropole column's 'A Small Issue, For a Change.' The issue's feature was titled "Tout à Bas!" the 'Exceptions' Explained by Jim Auman. Another update of 'Wine News' was headlined, 'Metropole's Wine Visits Las Vegas.' The Scene and Noël 2002 columns were titled 'New Stuff, Current Stuff and 'Last Chance' Stuff' and 'Morephoto: sign, drink mat, le select, montparnasse or Less.' The club's update on 12. December was titled, the 'Dennis' Toy Show and Swing Club' report. There were the four new 'Posters of the Week' again and Ric's Cartoon was captioned, 'Your Red Suit.'

This Was Metropole Two Years Ago

Issue 6.50 - 10. Dec 2001 - The Café Metropole column's headline was 'Under the Weather Week.' There was a feature about 'A Christmas Present from Paris' Mayor.' The week's email feature was titled, "Down, Way Down, Way Way Down." This was one of the weeks while it was happening. The Scene column was titled, 'Two 'Scenes' for the Price of One,' because there was also 'The Christmas Scene.' The club's update on 13. December was headlined as the 'Moyer-Moyer 'Meet of the Week' report. There were another four nifty 'Posters of the Week' and Ric's Cartoon was, 'Was Only a Dream.'

The Prehistoric Version of the Countdowns

Prehistorians can find the last known regular version of this obscure and miserably neglected feature by turning to the last Café page with it, and subtract about 50 days from all numbers except the anniversary dates. These have certainly expired. Every item in this feature has probably expired. It is what comes from doing too much 'bungling' work.

Bungle Fixing

Photo Müller in the Rue des Plantes has promised to try and get a replacement camera cable from Olympus. If they have one, I might get it next week. But I need photos for this week, so I went to Magic Mac on Général Leclerc and asked if they have digital camera memory card readers.

They said they have one that reads five different memory cards. When asked if they have one that connects to a serial port, they said, "What's a serial port?"

Their memory card reader hooks up to a USB port. My new but not-so-old used Mac doesn't have this modern plug-hole, so I had to ask if they have a 'card' with the USB port on it. 'Yes,' theyphoto: car of the future, 1938 said, 'with or without 'Firewire.' Thinking of the future of my older Mac, I got the one with two of each - two USBs and two 'Firewires,' plus the memory card reader.

'Modern' as it used to be - in 1938. At Peugeot's showroom on the Champs-Elysées.

But if I bust something trying to install these things tomorrow, I have three fall-backs. The first and least reliable is the Magic Mac guarantee. Another is Metropole's original digital camera, a 1994 model, something like a digital 'Brownie.' The final fall- back will be to use one of three 35mm reflex cameras collecting dust here, with real film in it. It can be developed and scanned, and copied to a CD-ROM, in one day, all for 12€.

So, you see, there's no real reason to even have a digital camera, a proper cable, a card memory reader, USB ports, and other technical nicknacks. No reason at all - except for the Thursday Café Metropole Club meeting 'report.' This is supposed to be a one-day op, and without photos of the 'Group of the Week' it would be like it didn't happen.

Nearly No Days Left

The number of days left this year is only 22 - immensely far less than the '30-left' last week. Sooner than we expect - already in fact - we'll be squeezed elbow to elbow standing in front of cheery department store windows gaily illuminated but unheated for Christmas. In fact, we can do this now. The only thing lacking was the absolute 'freezing' and now we've got it too.

Also, we are now able to skate on a frozen rink in front of the Hôtel de Ville, or the one in front of the Gare Montparnasse, or the one out at La Défense, even if it is going a bit far just to be colder than on a plain sidewalk.
signature, regards, ric

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