More of the Same

photo, canal bridge, waterfall Why, it looks like a party here.

Light At the End of the Geek

by Ric Erickson

Paris:– Monday, 29. May 2006:– I am trying mightily, I am huffing and puffing, I am expanding like a big ol' fat green frog, I am holding my breath, my eyes are popping, I am doing my mighty best – but I just cannot bring myself to get seriously annoyed with the freaking, flipping... stuff in the sky, for want of a better PG–14 word, called the weather.

You see, I have other concerns. But this is the weather spot, what you pay for, so here goes. Tomorrow, when it becomes light enough to see the sky, we are supposedly going to see some blue, some clouds, and some peeps of the sun, each in their turn. It might also be a bit windy if the 60 kph breeze blowing down the Channel, straight from London to Calais, comes this far. The whole northeast part of France, where not many live and enjoy the finer things of life – excepting Champagne – will be under a cloud.

And here it will be darn cold. The high is expected to be 14 tiny degrees. It's a crime. Then on to Wednesday when things should improve a lot, to being basically covered with local clouds except for the parts where the sun is shining, like here, sometimes. It's hardly worth waiting for Wednesday and its high of 15 degrees but what else can we do?

photo, old morris column, old churchNot an old weather station but a Morris column.

Thursday should be a lot better with one sunball in the west and another one in the east, with a dark cloud over Lille, and here in the upper middle, above the wasteland of central France, we have been promised a high temperature of 16 degrees. Frankly I consider this to be ridiculous. The day before June 1st is only going to be 16? Who do they think we are?

New York City Weather of the Week

On the other side of the great ditch weather news comes from Météo Jim, exclusively for Metropole. However he has bugged off on some family holiday, and my other concerns have prevented me from filling in at long distance, so you folks hoping for accurate weather this week in the New York area, are out of flippin' luck. Do like I do. Go look out a window.

Disclaimer:– this week the 'I' and the 'we' above is not Météo Jim but 'Ed' or the club's secretary himself. If Météo Jim intends to leave his Pommeland weather station for sunnier climes, I don't blame him. – 'Ed'

Café Life

Light At the End of the Peashooter

I have had a really interesting week but I have not seen much of Paris. I finally got around to switching from an old broken–down has–been of a computer system that has served me and Metropole well for 20 and 10 years respectively. The switch took place on Wednesday and I got to try it out when I did the café Metropole Club report on Thursday, and for a long part of early and boring Friday morning.

Since then, instead of writing many pages of new Metropole, I have been finding my way around and throwing out suspicious hunks of software that might be making the cursor jump around like a Mexican jumping bean in a hot frying pan waiting for a friendly tamale to repose in it.

photo, bikes, shadows Only two of the hordes of cyclists.

Just now, typing 'Mexican jumping bean,' when I looked at the screen it had disappeared. I typed it, didn't I? Where did it go? I look around the acre of screen and in the top right hand corner there's a thing called 'Spotlight' and in it there's my 'Mexican jumping bean' and this lunatic 'Spotlight' says "No results found." Mein Goff! It just did it again. It says 'no results found' for 'no results found.'

You understand what's going on here? It's like this new machine is haunted. When I get in a really bad way I look in the book I got in New York. Right! Just this morning I looked up Apache because Josef said there's a file server inside this thing somewhere and Apache runs it, like it runs the majority of Web servers on the planet. In the 800 pages of the book – one for Dummies by the way – there isn't one word about this Apache, and no mention of any Web server.

Well there's an issue to do here so I can't worry about it now. It's an example of what's been going on though. Nearly everything I look up in the book isn't in it. Sometimes there's a note saying the subject is beyond the book's scope, but mostly it's mum. Another thing that happens are preference files that rewrite themselves when I'm not looking, or watching the weather on TV. Just a few minute ago these lines I'm typing stopped having carriage returns and began heading right off the page off the screen, way to hell–and–gone, UNIX–style. Have you got any idea how far they can go without going to the next line? It's like forever.

But you know, I don't feel too bad about this. The first couple of years with a computer were just as mysterious – no memory, no storage, no RAM – but I wasn't in any hurry. The last 10 or 12 years have been different, very intensive. And this is without learning any trick, geek stuff. My first function keys are still brand new, and so far, still unprogrammed.

Yes, I'm glad I retired the old Mac. Even if it was a good soldier. After about a week of fooling around with files, switching folders around, reading strange warning messages and choosing never every time some sneak bandit inside the Powerbook asks if it can talk to some server in California, I am beginning to feel like this is going to be a good deal. This last generation stuff has an advantage over the latest of the shiny whistles too – it runs cool and silent. Silver and cool.

The best thing is that all my old files – some from the 80s – are on the new machine. The second best thing is that it can read DVD movies. In the scope of life's cool ideas, watching a movie on a portable computer is akin to listening to symphonies with an iPod in the Métro. I should do what uncle Den–Den does. He takes – HEY! it did it again! 'Takes apart Marx Brothers movies' just jumped into that Spotlight thing. How did I do that? Is it only crazy stuff that leaps up there?

Parisians are Events–crazy

With all this excitement you would hardly expect me to be out touring around town but this is exactly what I was doing yesterday. The weather wasn't too terrible and it wasn't absolutely freezing, and it was Sunday, so after I found the Apache – and decided that I would dive into the camera's considerable user's manual some other day or risk losing Sunday's light, there I was up north climbing out of the Métro at Gare de l'Est.

photo, canal lock, bridge What? What is there to see?

The Canal Saint–Martin is only a few blocks away. Around the station a few folks were holding down café terraces but it was pretty quiet, kind of like a Sunday when the town is asleep because everybody went out to commune with nature over the long weekend. Well, some stayed behind to watch the tennis on TV or out at Roland Garros, but I don't consider that like 'folks in town.'

> The first café terrace and the cafˇ across the street in the shade were both full. The park around the corner was full, the park up the block was full, and a lot of people were lining the banks of the canal under the blue sheets hanging between the trees, and the roads beside the canal, closed for cars, were full of strollers, rollers, bikers and pram–pushers. Another couple of football–teams worth were parked at the centre of the closest bridge.



It seemed to me the kind of crowd that you get at an event, but in this case the event was the canal and the open sky above it, blue, but not quite blue enough to keep the water from looking mossy. Nobody seemed to be bothered by this. All the way, up to Stalingrad and down below, by the locks, folks were parked, camped, installed on the few café terraces, in the parks nearby and beside the canal.

I am not any beaver of industry. At least I don't think I am. What struck me about this crowd yesterday was that they were not gathered for an event. They were just being there. If there is a lot of this going on somebody is going to start worrying about it.

photo, canal loafers, flags, bannersAnd what are those blue bedsheets?

In fact, in this particular area, I think people are worried about it. Some time ago folks started moving in around the canal because it was lower–rent and quite neighborhoody with its old cafés and modest restaurants, and of course this put a pressure on prices, making it more expensive for those not so fast, and for those who were there first anyway.

Now there are all these non–event people crawling all over the place. Yeah. They live in other parts of town, like say, the 15th arrondissement, and instead of going up to Montmartre they come over to the canal, to hang out. Apparently younger folks hang out in the evenings, as if the canal were a café terrace. It stands to reason the other people who paid good money to move in here, don't want freeloaders sitting around in the open air under the sky beside the canal.

My guess is that people get tired of continual events. There are so many that the TV–news can hardly fit in regular news anymore. There are these blockbuster museum reopenings, new exhibitions, salons, super gigantic sports events, parties on the Champs–Elysées, Les Soldes, demonstrations and protests galore – so many that only war breaking out or a devastating earthquake can get air time.

So you can hardly blame people for wanting to find a flat spot beside the canal. And if they bring something to eat and drink, what's the harm?

Tempest Last Chance

The Tower Theatre Company will be presenting a Shakespeare version of the Tempest rather than one produced by weather, in the Jardin Shakespeare somewhere near the Pré Catalan in the Bois de Boulogne, beginning tomorrow. This is the 15th year that these players have presented Shakespeare in a beautiful setting in the fresh air, somewhat distant from a Métro station.

photo, sign, momo, french llicence plate

Check out the Web site for details plus directions. The show continues until Sunday, 4. June so don't wait until next year. For info, tickets or plain fun, phone Robin Baker at 01 45 20 67 30 or click his name for the email link.

The Huge Thing of the Week Returns

Aerial photos of Paris are rare because the city is a well–kept military secret. Very few civilians are accorded permission to overfly the city and even fewer take photos from above the Tour Eiffel. got permission somehow and took his camera up there and then put some of his 1000 shots on his Web site, which is called Paris Sky Pictures. Forty of these photos also appear in his book titled J'aime Paris. If this isn't enough there are also other photos of France, from the 1950s. Worth a look.

A 'Tasty' cafˇ Metropole Club 'Report'

The last Club Meeting of the Week back on last Thursday took place with members present, which was about what the club's secretary least expects. Cast a glance at the 'report' of the super–meeting, which, with scant invention, was headlined, 'Finger Lickin' Good – Alligator for Eight,' for another major and unforgettable club 'first.'

photo, cafe pont tournant One of few terraces with service.

The coming meeting of the cafˇ Metropole Club will be real or imagined, with new and unusual 'firsts' such as a new 'Day of the Week.' The next 'Saint of the Week' will be Justin de Naplouse, who has no public holiday that can be confused with his alternate names of Justin Martyr or Justin the Philosopher but is still on the calendar despite being suppressed about 1892 years ago, possibly because he wasn't a Samaritan but a Greek or Roman.

The largely true and hardly exciting story of the club is on the page called the 'About the Club' page. Should your curiosity be piqued, shift an eyeball towards the club's original and hand–made membership card, before its eventual replacement with something just as crummy.

photo, sign, rue dieu

This Was Metropole Three Years Ago

Issue 8.22 – 26. May 2003 – the issue began with the cafˇ Metropole headline, 'Men with Naked Ties.' The 'Au Bistro' column's headline was, 'In 6 Words, Tour Eiffel Lights Up Again in June.' The issue's feature was titled, 'The Key to Cable–access is the Garbage Room Door.' The repeat Scène column was still titled, 'Choo–Choo Champs–Elysées.' The Cafˇ Metropole Club update for 29. May was titled the "I have a Thing for Macaroons" report. There were another four new 'Posters of the Week' and Ric's cartoon of the week was captioned, 'It's Roland "Swivel–Neck" Garros Time Again.'

This Was Metropole Four Years Ago

Issue 7.22 – 27. May 2002 – this week's cafˇ Metropole column was kind to pals, with 'George Visits Jacques.' The 'Au Bistro' column's headline asked, 'Europe Needs Immigrants?' The Cafˇ Metropole Club update on 30. May was headlined as the "Where Are All the Flower Stalls?" report. There were four astonishing and new 'Posters of the Week' yet again, and Ric's cartoon 'Caption of the Week' had the caption, "Eddie, Wake Up!"

photo, sign, rue bichat

Café Life Lite 1O1

Finest, Mauve Pataphysics

There are a whopping 216 days left of this year, which means there are a whole lot less days than there were until the begin of the Soldes d'Eté. This is exactly the same number of 'days left,' as at this time last year when the French voted against their political leaders and defeated the proposed European Constitution.. A year later, like today, they are not a bit sorry for what they did. This is completely unconnected to the fact that this year has used up 149 days, the same number that 1627 had when Anne Marie Louise d'Orléans, also known as la Grande Mademoiselle, duchesse de Montpensier, daughter of Gaston d'Orléans, niece of King Louis XIII, and cousin of Louis XIV was born, most likely in France.

A bientôt à Paris
signature, regards, ric

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contents to: Ric Erickson, Editor.
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