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'Real' New Members

photo: group, jason, david, dominique, ana, larry, stan, eva, tomoko

From left, Jason, David, Dominique, Ana, Larry, part of
Stan, Eva and Tomoko.

China Lake Gets On Map

Paris:– Thursday, 12. February 2004:– Last week it was 'anticipated' news that didn't turn out right, and this week it is 'anticipated' weather that started out positive, turned negative, and now has switched back to positive again without anybody having to lift an umbrella or jump a puddle.

So we have the fog–in–the–morning forecast for tomorrow again. This is supposed to be overtaken by a very deep blue sky sometime later – predicted in some quarters a day early. The overnight low should be three degrees, with the temperature more than tripling to 10 degrees in the afternoon.

Saturday should be somewhere between partly cloudy and not–so–cloudy, with a high temperature of nine. Sunday might be the same, or a little bit sunnier – again with the same high of nine. You can sleep through the lows.

To sum up, as tonight's TV–weather news put it, it should be stable and dry.' You can put away your 'muffles,' until March, maybe.

Today's Unique Meeting 'Report of the Week'

Unlike last week when I didn't go to the club by way of Bastille, this week I go out of my way by coming to the club meeting by way of République. Club member number one, Heather 'Secrets of Paris' Stimmler–Hall, needs to knowphoto: coke, not wine if the Web Bar is closed or open – there's no sign of life online – so your club secretary becomes the Internet investigative reporter for a half hour.

One of the first – if not the very first – 'cybercafés' in Paris, is no more. No one over there knows why not. From what I can gather – not much! – you can erase it from your address books. On the other hand, nobody knows what will replace the Web Bar in the middle of next month. Maybe a portable phone text–messaging joint.

For unknown reasons, nobody tried La Corona's wine this week.

I arrive at the club's café La Corona with about a minute to spare, at 14:59. Patrick, the club's original 'Waiter of the Week,' tells me he had a wonderful time in Réunion having a real summer, and mentions that there are members present.

So there is Larry Frame – a 'real' new member! – waiting for he–doesn't– know–what to begin. The club has been recommended to him and about it he knows nothing. This means he isn't overburdened with a stuffed monkey and wierd 'City of the Week.' Darn.

It means that the very reason of the club must be explained. However, there turns out to be no time to do this properly, so I 'read' him his 'rights' from memory, tell him there are no 'rules,' and that membership is free and for life, and the so on that most members know already. If not, see the 'About the Club' stuff below.

Amidst the several other club members that arrive pell–mell almost together, there is one otherphoto: tea pot new member. This is Dominique Bourreau, who is with last week's new member, David Pitt. They used to live near or in Yosemite, California, but they live in Paris now. Dominique began her life in Paris, in the 16th arrondissement.

For unknown reasons, some members had tea instead.

There's no time to narrow this down to north, south, Auteuil, Passy, Trocadéro or wherever – maybe even Porte Mayo! – because of the arrivals of – oops – a member who joined in April of 2000, Stan Fleener, is slightly before them.

Today makes it almost four years since I've seen Stan, member number 60, so I only almost remember his name. It's on the tip of my tongue though. I swear it. I should have anticipated having to remember 550 names before I launched this club – I should have asked myself – do you swear to remember the names of all club members, forever?

Before I forget, the other members to arrive individually all about the same time are Jason Hraynyk, Tomoko Yokomitsu, Ana Escomel and Eva Lee. Tomoko asks me if I ate last week's poison blow–fish. She laughs. I am still alive. Meaning – of course I didn't eat the poison blow–fish. It does remind me though, I need to defrost my freezer compartment.

It has been a few weeks since a club meeting has had new members signing the members' booklet. New members give everybody, even the club's secretary, a chance to ask them about themselves.

Larry willingly tells his story. His last gig was putting sensors on people so their movements could be recorded by very powerful Macintosh computers, that translated the sensor data into computer games, like championship tennis. The process is called 'motion capture.'

He swears – there's a lot of swearing in this report – that he never did the Williams sisters. Nearly everybody else says at once, 'who are the Williams sisters?' I don't even follow tennis, but I do know it could be quite a bit more interesting to attach computer sensors to the Williams sisters than to, say, Janet Jackson.

Dominique Bourreau works for France Télécom's 'Orange' unit. This is the one that provides access tophoto: empty cafe cup all the wonderful telephone services that are available to anybody willing to sign their souls away for a portable phone and the right to make calls while riding the Métro or attending church services.

Some members had a café too.

Everyone at today's club meeting except Eva Lee is a Paris resident, and even Eva is trying because she's been here six weeks. Then, except for Ana, Tomoko and Dominique, everyone else is trying to learn French.

This means everybody – except the exceptions – has their story about learning French at the Alliance Française. Jason has been at this a long time, in several sessions, and he provides a lot of details, both negative and positive. It sounds a bit chancy, just like life.

"It didn't work out for me," Larry says. But after listening to Jason, there might be good reasons to give it another try. I certainly would have not dropped out if I hadn't been so busy doing drawings for French magazines.

Larry lived most recently in Seattle. So many members have done this that Seattle can't be 'City of the Week' again until about 2049, so Larry comes up with China Lake, which he says is in the middle of California's Mojave Desert.

David confirms this – that there is really a place named 'China Lake' – so I don't bother looking it up in the atlas. David or Stan says it is a navel base.

How this gets Stan to remember that his dad knew 'Ernie' – Ernest K Gann, the writer – whenphoto: ed's forgotten cafe 'Ernie' was an American Airlines pilot is totally unclear, as is David's assertion that 'Ernie' was his uncle. Is this all on account of China Lake?

For readers unfamiliar with these real club meetings, this kind of less–than–six– degrees removed connection isn't as rare as might be imagined. I mean, as club secretary, I certainly don't invent them.

The club's secretary forgot to have his while it was hot.

I am not doing well with keeping up on the conversations at the far end of the tables, and I see Jason has put on his jacket. This means it is 'Group Photo of the Week' time. A passing 'waiter of the week' also reminds me that it is long past the secretary's café time, so it gets ordered, gets delivered, gets forgotten, gets cold.

The light outside the café is not a lot brighter than inside, so today's shoot is in the club's area. The tall guys stand in the back row with their knees bent so they are nearly shorter that the not–so–tall ladies standing in the front row.

I do notice part of this, ask for rearrangements, and after a couple of shots, ask for some 'Mardi Gras' which, while enthusiastic, doesn't work at all. On later inspection, Stan is nearly invisible.

I don't know why. Larry tells me he got his kids Macs and mini–video cameras so that they can run a three–way Internet–based 'real–time' broadcasting system between the United States, Australia and Paris. It's less expensive than telephoning and more real.

In case anybody has forgotten, member's wishes are members' rights. This is what it means when I say I 'read' new members 'rights' to them. Anyone who wants, can be at a meeting and not be 'at' it, not in the report and 'unfindable,' photographed, but not published.

But the reason for not mentioning that Stan is jetlagged at today's meeting, like he says he is, is because he flew into Paris on Tuesday. The only exceptions for jetlagged members, are for those who arrived at Roissy, or Orly, on the same Thursday, in the same month and year, as a club meeting.

About the Café Metropole Club's About Page

This 'report' about today's club's meeting is more garbled than other recent ones, but how can you tell unless youphoto: winter, pont neuf are at a meeting? Trust me, I can tell it is more garbled. The 'About the Café Metropole Club' page will not say how the club's secretary knows these things, but does contains vital facts about the club.

Outside the club, Paris has a gray February day.

The only vital fact you need know is – there aren't many any others. You can become a real lifetime member of this online magazine's live and free club by simply becoming a member by attending any of its meetings in Paris, for free. More sheer value for 'free' you cannot get.

Where, Who, What, Why Not, How, When? Hey!

The Thursday club meetings start about 15:00 sharp, always on a Thursday. They continue until about 17:00, in the European Time of Paris' semi–annual 'semi–fake spring' – which is really 'CET' for short and not 'le vrai beau temps de février' although true – and known elsewhere as 3 pm to 5 pm. All of these meetings are in Paris, except for once upon a time in New York City.

Doing something clever at a meeting – like coming to one – is a splendid idea. True 'firsts' are welcome, with 'first' having a good edge in 'report' value over 'true.' Don't get the wrong idea – 'true' is fine too, especially if it's difficult to believe.

If you prefer to be 'not found' on the Internet, be sure to inform the club's secretary – before you get found by AlltheWeb.graphic: club location map If desired you can even be at a meeting and not be at it, 'report–wise.' Former 'rules' are 'former' and have been removed from the club's chronicles except for all the latter ones still online. All 'exceptions' to any other 'rules' have been temporarily suspended forever.

Talking in local languages at meetings is fine. If there's a free chair sit – optional – wherever you like, or haul one over from another part of the café. If they are listening, whatever you say may be truly appreciated by the other members present, and there usually are some sometimes – and if it happens to be written here, it could be read by all the readers of this online magazine, as some of them do part of the time.*

*The above paragraphs are unchanged since last week because all readers read these reports only sometimes, if they are in the mood.

The café's location is:

Café–Tabac La Corona
2. Rue de l'Amiral de Coligny – or – 30. Quai du Louvre
Paris 1. Métro: Louvre–Rivoli, Pont–Neuf or Châtelet.
Every Thursday from 15:00 to 17:00.

A bientôt à Paris
signature, regards, ric

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Send email concerning the
contents to: Ric Erickson, Editor.
Metropole Midi © 2014
– unless stated otherwise.
logo, metropole sml midi logo No matter how good it tastes,
there is no such thing
as a free lunch.
Waldo Bini