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Dazed Ginza Ninja

photo, xmas eve, churros, boul montparnasse

Starving Parisians waiting for pre–feast snack on Christmas Eve.

Burning in Camera Hell!

by Ric Erickson

Paris:– Monday, 26. December 2005:– The weather experienced a pause over the past few days. To suit shoppers on Christmas Eve and anyone who survived to be a stroller after harrowing episodes of dinners, breakfasts, opening presents and lunches yesterday, we had mild times and bits of blue sky, but now the pause is over.

As explained on tonight's TV–weather news there appears to be a deep low hanging over Denmark which is also a cold low, and it's going to push some breezes this way, maybe to the tune of 70 kph from the northeast. All the same Tuesday's sky may have some tiny blue patches while thick clouds lurk along the Channel.

If you are up there expect some snow to be falling tomorrow, plus on a slant through the middle of France from Alsace to the Pyrenees, and in the Alps. Still not convinced? Sortez les muffles, for the low tonight has been forecast as zero degrees and tomorrow's high will be no more than 1 degree.

This is not an immediately passing situation. Wednesday may be a little brighter here but the temperature is not expected to be more than -1, with that diagonal swath full of snow flurries. The same thing is expected for Thursday, same diagonal full of snow, same low temperature and the same bits of feeble blue patches.

If this sounds terrifying France will contain one oasis of sunshine and this will be in the southeast, along that fabled coast called the Côte d'Azur, so called because it never has icebergs. All the samephoto, paris plage, xmas day it will be windy down there, perhaps even hauling down the temperature from about 10 to less than half, so sitting in a warm cinema in Paris could be an attraction after all.

Paris Plage on Christmas Day, without sunbathers.

For those who have waterproofed fun by frolicking in snow, ski stations in the Alps and the Pyrenees have abundant amounts of it, along with chalets, ski rentals, hotels, ski lifts, restaurants, ski instructors, bars with hot drinks and mountain rescue teams, also on skis. Of course, all of this is probably colder than in Paris. You have been warned.

Without muchos ados here's Météo Jim with the Pommeville forecast, disclaimer and jolly seasonal greets, after an exciting week in and around Pommeland:–

For Snow, Canada Always

Post–Christmas greetings and pre–New Year's greetings. In Pommeland everybody is singing, "Je rêve díun Noël enneigé," mais ce n'est qu'une rêve. The rain has been falling, eating what remains of the snow and most of America has the rained–out blues. The only snow is in Canada and the tops of the Rockies. Temperatures in the low 40s a–grad are predicted for the rest of the week. New Year's Day is still too far off in the future so all disclaimers will be immediately disclaimed, even with the post Christmas discounts.

*Disclaimer – Bonne Année! to you and the readers of Metropole.

Café Life

Dazed Ginza Ninja

It was just a coincidence that I have been saving money for months and months in order to get a new camera for myself and Metropole for Christmas. I am not a registered christian, so it is not actually a Christmas present. Metropole needs a new camera! I was slowly getting near enough and then EDF demanded I pay for a little electricity and France Télécom is never far behind with its bill. Last month I thought I had it made, but no.

My fairy godmother, who has a different scale of 'modest' sent me a surprise pile of money, possibly to stop me begging for crumbs. I phoned my secretive bank on Wednesday and they said it was here – they usually take 10 days to send a note; holding on to it as long and quietly as possible – and I went off hop–skip–and–jump to Photo Müller and lent him my plastic. Lucky too, because he had exactly one camera and was not getting any more until the new year. Yah yah, you other losers hafta wait!

We, Monsieur Müller and I, were a bit doubtful that the software would work with my antique Mac OS 9 so he phoned Olympus and they said, si si, no worries. As I left he asked mephoto, metro vavin, xmas eve to let him know how it works out because he's never tried this camera and wants to know in case somebody else tries to buy one. But before next year he wants to hear about no troubles. He is going to upgrade his Christmas chicken to capon on the profit from the memory card alone.

Although nobody asked, the Vavin métro station has reopened.

The DVD included in the box called 'Extensive User's Guide' did not work because my old Mac does not have a DVD player. The two included CDs did not work either because they are for Windows and Mac OS 10, exclusively. All I could get off one of them was a 220–page PDF file. Nothing they have online for downloading is for Mac OS 9, and an email to Olympus USA produced 'nope' as a response. All of this is situation normal.

Luckily I have a cheapo USB card reader. I tried it once before when Nigel was here and we stuck his card in it to see the photos he'd taken. We didn't see anything because it fried the Mac's system to cinders. It took some doing to get out of that one, like dragging Matt away from his Yahoo Finance to come over here with a hard drive fixer. Matt hasn't seemed like he's in a good mood lately, ever since he got the new scooter. But, so, I was a bit worried because this camera has the same kind of card that went blooey.

You probably think I can hook up the camera to the computer with a USB cable, and in theory you are right, but without the software there's no way for the two stupid machines to exchange greetings. It also means there's no way to register online; so Monsieur Müller and his paper guarantee cards will have to do the trick. He specializes in Praktika and other obscure east European brands – from countries where the abacus is still king. If you are seeking a piece of a 50–year old Russian camera he probably has it.

This new one is not a beautiful camera. It seems to be made entirely of extremely black plastic, in China no less, with chopsticks. It looks like that Ninja guy in Star Wars with the ventilated Nazi helmet. Beggars can't be choosers they say, but most other cameras these days look like they were made with chopsticks in China – except for the Olympus model that I skipped getting. It is made of sexy magnesium in Tokyo's red–light district, by a blind guy who graduated in designing shoeboxes for flipflops.

This new camera has a '50s type speed dial on top with 'A' on it. When you turn on the 'On' switch and look through a little window and gently push the shooter button a little while this 'A' is selected, it will try to focus, and then take a photo when you push it all the way – a 100th of a millimetre further. I thought I took 8 photos the first afternoon but I only found 2 inside. It was shorting me. There are 10 other choices on the speed dial so all it not lost yet. It has 'P' for parking, another 'A' for absconding, 'S' for speeding and 'M' for mother, then five others in Chinese and one in Greek.


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