Where are the Mannequins?

photo, frank and ramona, group of the week Today's group withstands the tempest on the terrace.

And Who Wants to Know

by Ric Erickson

Paris:– Thursday, 18. January:–  There was an Alert Orange for the weather last night and this morning. Big winds were coming out of the Atlantic and brutalizing northern Europe, starting with Brittany because it sticks way out there, and continuing with the Channel and all adjacent lands, plus north, plus Scandinavia. Winds up to 120 were predicted and what actually happened exceeded the forecast.

Tonight's TV–news said that the Alert Orange is continuing into tomorrow, for all the French departments up north. If you go out make sure your pockets are full of cents and all of the heavier euros you can lug. Big trees were blown away today.

photo, lemon tea A perfect day for hot lemon tea.

The winds must be from the Azores because tonight's low is supposed to be 13 while tomorrow's high was forecast to be 15 degrees. All we can expect around here and more breezes and a totally overcast sky.

Saturday was promised to provide more of the same, with a lone ray of hope out at Brittany's western tip, while here it will likely be all cloudy all day long. To remain mild though with a high of 13 predicted. Change should come on Sunday when the sky will clear enough to show blue between the clouds. The tradeoff for this will be a diminished high of only 10 degrees, which is about 50 F, according to a local widget. As usual the Riviera will be sunny and warmer, with 18 freaking degrees.

The 'Who Wants to Know' Report

I got ready to go to today's meeting by packing my new Corona cap in the bag. Winds were hammering at my southern wall all night, rain was clinking down like BBs and I was expecting to get blown around a bit. But out the door the surprise was how mild it was. It's a crazy winter everywhere.

photo, frank's diana cameraFrank's total plastico camera.

Either there aren't many folks around or they are staying under cover in cafés and heated museums. Even though it is mild if feels pretty damp. I just learned that a good place to get warm fast is any place selling LCD televisions. Just go in and watch some of those widescreen TVs for a couple of minutes and you'll be cooking.

Otherwise, riding the Métro is pretty breeze–free. Somebody closed all the windows months ago. If you want fresh air, take a taxi. Me, I get the air because I walk half the way, but regular readers know this. There's the Rue Dauphine and the bridge. There was a lot of fresh air on the Quai du Louvre this afternoon too.

The club's café La Corona was nearly empty when I arrived. It's a good place to be Zen in this season. You can sleep all you want just so long as your eyes look like they're open. Of course when club members show up there might be a bit of chatter so maybe you should find another café for your dozing.

I wasn't anywhere near asleep with member Ramona McDaris arrived and asked me what I was reading in Le Parisien. Ramona told me about the wind making me tired, told me about her TVs that don't work and how she found some gizmos at BHV to level her sofa. Or, more exactly, how to match a level sofa with a hilly floor.

"Montparnasse is my second favorite cemetery," she said. I said it is my favorite because it is closest. This was a continuation from last week's discussion about crematoriums, which we had to say we weren't discussing. Anyway, I didn't learn which is her favorite cemetery. Maybe next week.

Then another strange January occurrence happened. Another member who wrote to warn me of a club appearance, showed up. It was Frank Watson in person. For our friends of geography note that Sweden has the same time zone as South Africa. Frank calls Uppsala home. Has it been a City of the Week yet?

photo, ramona mcdarisRamona makes a point.

Frank is, as long–time members will recall, a photographer. He said he is in town to recuperate the photos from the expo he had here four years ago. Then he pulled out his camera – an all–plastic otto, with three controls and a nifty Plasticion lens. He had a roll of film from it too, a 120 black–and–white thingee, wrapped in paper ready to send to the lab.

This reminded Ramona to take out her camera and start shooting. It reminded me to take mine out and try the old white balance trick of shooting it at some white paper, with custom selected in a menu. This is instead of leaving it on auto or choosing one of five typical light sources. Why are there two for fluorescent lights?

The café has tungsten lights with yellow shades, and neons, plus mirrors and yellow murals, some weak daylight with red awnings, and some smoke. It is a nightmare for auto.

photo, frank watson Frank makes two points.

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