Thursday, August 20, 2009

Heat wave o'the week and nearby movies

For some days now, blazing heat has been the rule again in Paris—yet another “heat wave,” or so it is considered officially, even though heat waves are now more common than “normal,” seasonal temperatures.

It got up to 102° F outside my window, which means it was about 110° F on the street. The “normal” yearly maximum temperature for Paris is 76° F, so it's about 30° above normal, again. There's also a pollution alert in effect, as there almost always is when extreme heat traps pollutants in the Parisian air—today was a 6, out of 10 (10 being the worst).

My ancient air conditioner struggled continuously throughout the day, but could not get the temperature inside the apartment below 81° F. Still, that was 25° or so cooler than outside, and every little bit helps.

I learned this evening that some American film is being shot almost literally outside my door (actually a street or two away). The talent includes Leonardo DiCaprio, whose name I recognize (I saw him in Titanic and The Aviator), plus some other actress named Ellen-something. However, there are location shoots every day in Paris—it's like Los Angeles in that respect—so it's nothing worth seeing … particularly at 110°.

I take a keen interest in the technical aspects of cinema (and just about everything else technical in the world), but I've never been a fan of people. If I happen across a location shoot and the equipment looks interesting, I may pause and watch (if the weather isn't too hot!), but I often miss or don't recognize the talent. You can see famous people a lot in Paris, anyway, if you're looking for them. There isn't anyone worth seeing in 110° heat, however, and I pity the cast and crew working in today's hellish, disquietingly freaky weather.

Tomorrow I actually have three hours of work, for which I'll be paid €36 before taxes. That'll make 13.5 hours (€162) of work so far this month, which is slightly more than my bimonthly electric bill. (If you are wondering why my electric bill is €80 a month for a one-room studio … well, I wonder why it's so high, too! I guess EDF has to make fat profits for its shareholders.)