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Shirley, Don, Tomoko, Nellie

photo: group, tomoko and don

Half of the 'Group of the Week,' Tomoko and half of Don's hat.

'Co–Incidence of the Week'

Paris:– Thursday, 10. June 2004:– It has cooled off a bit today but it is still humid. You can start out walking feeling that it cooler than it was but after a couple of blocks on streets with no wind you'll feel like you should have stayed where you were if it was air conditioned.

In New York for example, the temperature is the same as Paris late this afternoon at 26 degrees or 79 F, but New York's humidity is higher at 71%, compared to 53% for Paris. On the Atlantic's other side the wind is 12 mph and coming from the east–northeast while here it is 14 'knots' and pouring over the city from the north–northwest. It is supposed to be cloudy in New York and it was supposed to be raining in Paris, but there were only a few drops a while ago.

You get this bonus of New York weather because there is no weather from Le Parisien today. I don't like to depend entirely on the TV–weather news, but here is what it predicts:–photo: shades of the week

It may start off mostly cloudy in the morning and gradually become semi– cloudy. This depends on a diagonal trough between low fronts. Their passage, sooner or later, will result in more clouds. The temperature will be lower at 24 degrees.

The only 'Shades of the Week' this week.

Saturday may be brighter but the temperature may be lower, at 22 degrees. Sunday will see another loss of a degree, and the skies might be more uncertain. If the passing fronts don't scoot to the east then they'll be overhead, with possible showers. If none of this happens, then it will be sunny all over.

The Full 'Club Report of the Week'

Before setting off for today's club meeting I remember that I've received a couple of emails telling me to be on the lookout for new members today. I do not note these emails because pre–announced new members never show up. The least I can do to foil the jinx is to ignore it and forget the emails.

The Métro is steamy on the ride to Châtelet and it's a relief to trade its atmosphere for the Rue de Rivoli. However one look at this busy street makes me decide to trade its atmosphere for my usual back alleys, where there is no traffic.

On the Quai du Louvre there are a lot of overheated people sitting at tables on the café terraces, facing a lot of other overheated people sitting in cars stalled in traffic right in front of them. At the Louvre end, the club's café terrace has a lot of free space left even if it has more custom than usual.

The café is nearly empty inside, and there's only the old man in the 'grande salle.' He is here every Thursday, aboutphoto: green drink like Willy the Bird. I take my secretary's spot against the far wall, but a bit closer to the windows to cut down the glare from passing windshields outside.

I have no sooner written – '14:55, no members' – than Shirley Lindsay shows up. I know who it is instantly even if I can't quite pinpoint the name. The fact that I haven't seen Shirley since she joined the club on 22. March 2001 makes no difference.

This week's 'Green Drink of the Week.'

Shirley is Metropole's Maurice Utrillo expert, and we had a fair amount of correspondence before she got to Paris. She thinks the Utrillo painting she was looking for is in a collection in Kansas someplace. This is less than certain because Shirley moved to Winston–Salem in North Carolina a few years ago.

It is good to see a member again who doesn't visit Paris often. I remind myself to check Winston–Salem to see if it might possibly be the 'City of the Week.' I even remember to do this – Aha! Winston–Salem was a 'City of the Week' – exactly one year ago today!

Not only this, but 12. June 2003 was a hot, sticky, humid day, too. Boy, was that a meeting! There were six new members and five already members and it was hot, hot, hot. Does anybody remember that the garbagemen were on strike in Marseille?

Shirley says she isn't staying long because she hasn't expected today's North Carolina weather here, and she is staying in a hotel with air conditioning. She came to Paris to walk around a lot, but it isn't perfect for it today.

Her 'hellos' having been said she relays her seat to Don Smith, who has come in just as she is leaving. I tell Don about Shirley's 'Utrillo Tips' and he asks me to send him a copy.

Don, who normally lives in cool Seattle, is in town conducting photo workshops. He guides people around their cameras and around Paris to get shots that you don't see on postcards. He says he lets his clients have café–breaks too.

We talk about cameras – his, mine – for a few minutes, and I try some trick shots that work – actually, don't work, because the camera will not release its shutter for a room view while it's set on 'spot focus' and 'macro.' Just like it won't release the shutter when the subject is too close and 'spot focus' and 'macro' aren't turned on. I find two new 'idiotproof' camera functions, in other words.

It is too warm to do stuff more exiting than this. Don shows me his Palm hand–sized mini–computer. He has a lot of photos stored in it. Plus, he says, all of Paris' arrondissement maps and the Métro map.

He lets me try it. I draw a cartoon of Don on its screen. Don has his hat on so it's not hard to get it looking a bit like Don. This is a pretty nifty gizmo. Don says it has everything except Photoshop in it. Considering its size and what it can do, it is probably worth every penny it costs.

Tomoko Yokomitsu cruises in and comes to a landing. "It's too hot!" is the first thing she says. I have been sitting for a while, moving as little as possible, so I think she may be exaggerating a little bit. But this is how it is – do nothing and it's okay.

Don decides to go outside and check the breeze. Through the window I can see some leaves on a tree and they aren't moving at all.

Tomoko says she will be in another two performances of 'A Midsummer Night's Dream.' This is strictly pro forma becausephoto: garbage bag wind vane all performances until now have been sold out. Tomoko has a magazine article about some Beatles thing she's involved with, but she's very disappointed not to be mentioned in it.

For readers who have come in late, Tomoko is the club's connection to the world of theatre, TV and movies. Tomoko is one of the club's few French movie stars, and the only one who works at it full time, except on Thursdays.

Aerodynamic street breeze indicator device. (Pat. Pend.)

Don comes back with evidence of the breezes. He has taken a photo of the plastic garbage bag out in front of the café, showing the bag almost horizontal in the breeze. This is a breeze almost exclusive to the Rue de l'Amiral de Coligny. The leaves in the Quai du Louvre are still motionless.

I go out to reproduce the evidence of the breezes because Don never sends me his photos. I am just in time to catch one last puff of breeze, because on the second shot the bag goes limp. I don't see any of Don's 'little dogs' flying by either.

Tomoko begins to muse on the idea of retiring in Japan. She says the care is better there, and the food is good too.photo: orange drink Actually she says most suschi is done by Koreans – except in Paris where it is done by Vietnamese. Whichever it is, we both realize that neither of us can retire to Japan because we've been here too long. It is not good to think of what kind of suschi French retirement places have.

"It's a pleasure," Don says, "To come to the Café Metropole Club."

This week's only yellow 'Orange Drink of the Week.'

I swear Don actually says this on his own initiative. He says it is a 'free' plug for the club, and he feels like doing it. As club secretary I could write 'free' plugs for the club even if there were no members present, but I don't do this. I'm not sure I should repeat what Don really says, but he really says this, and if I don't put it in here, you won't believe any part of this club 'report.'

So, then, because we can't think of anything else to do we out to the café's terrace for the 'Group Photo of the Week.' So that it doesn't look like other 'Group Photos of the Week' I ask Tomoko and Don to look in opposite directions. It doesn't mean anything.

Just after 17:00 Nellie shows up to haul Don off to Château–Rouge. At first I think she is one of the 'email' members who aren't going to show up, but Nellie talks in French and knows I live in the 14th, so it must be Nellie.

With Shirley Lindsay, Nellie brings today's membership to four. This is pretty good for a steamy day in the middle of a nothing week when there are no shows with casts of hundreds of thousands programmed. I guess this has been a 'Nothing of the Week' meeting, like a couple of others.

The Café Metropole Club's About Page

This 'report' about today's club's meeting should give you a sketchy notion of the occasionally 'nothing' times to be had atphoto: group 2, tomoko and don club meetings. The 'About the Café Metropole Club' page has all the additional information you need to know about the club. A Palm hand–held is far more than anybody needs for the club's details.

This week's only 2nd 'Group Photo of the Week.'

You can become a real lifetime member of this online magazine's real, live, and free club by becoming a member in seconds by signing–in yourself during any of its meetings in Paris, for free. There are no hidden costs, real or imaginary. Free is really free too.

The club's 'rules' were quashed by the club's members long ago. The club's other claim to fame is that it is the only club related to an Internet magazine that has no newsletter to send you. I hope this makes sense with the typo removed.

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

The weekly club meetings begin about 15:00, on most all days that are Thursday afternoons. Meetings continue until about 17:00, in the western European Time of Paris' – which is really 'CET' for short and not 'June's humid times' although they sometimes are – and known elsewhere as 3 pm to 5 pm. Club meetings are only held in Paris unless the secretary gets a better offer.

Doing anything clever at a meeting – like being at one – is considered the opposite of not being at one. True 'firsts' are welcome, with 'first' having a much greater 'report' value than 'true.' 'True' is perfectly acceptable too, especially if it's a 'first.'

One note of caution – you may have any one or two of a hundred personal reasons for not wanting to be traceable via the Web. If so, be sure to inform the club's secretary that you prefer to be '404 – not found' by Web search engines before becoming 'found' in one of these humid club reports.graphic: club location map

Former 'rules' remain 'former' week after humid week and have been eliminated from the club's volumes of chronicles except for all the originals still online buried deep in the archives, which you can read if you can find them.

Talking to other club members at meetings is a laudable activity. If there's an empty chair sit – entirely optional – wherever you like, or haul one over from another part of the café. If they are listening, whatever you say may be honestly appreciated by other members present, and there usually are some – and if it should chance to be written here, as some of it sometimes is.*

*The above paragraphs are relatively unchanged since last week because of hunger caused by a lack of any 'Food of the Week.'

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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