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, biker and pram–pushers. Another couple of football–teams worth were parked at the centre of the closest bridge.




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