Friday, April 28, 2006


Every day is a new day but it isn't every day I get a new laptop computer.

Today is that day.

I'm still setting things up but I had to write something, anything to baptize my new toy. Of course I had to invite Nel over to share my joy as I opened the box, but she left before I got down to the real work of setting up bookmarks, accounts, favorite pages, passwords and registering all the software, most of which I will not be using. Evidently, Microsoft (there's nothing soft about it) doesn't just load the software on the computer now. You get a 60-day trial to play with what you already have before they pull the plug -- unless, of course, you're willing to shell out $149. I guess Bill Gates doesn't have enough money yet and he isn't making any money from the computer manufacturers who buy the software and load it onto the computers they sell, so he sticks it to the consumer -- one more time. I believe in free enterprise, but this has become onerous in the extreme. So, if I want to continue to use the program I have become familiar with and don't want to learn a new one, I will have to shell out another $149 before 6/30 to continue using the program. Just what I need, another thief picking my nearly threadbare pockets. Oh, well, I'll figure out something.

I still haven't figured out all the bells and whistles and now that I have wireless capabilities I will find someone who can help me figure it out (faster than me doing it myself with my work schedule) and take my laptop backpacking, hiking, walking and cruising restaurants and coffee shops (to drink water or juice of course) and bask in the sounds and scents of books, food and conversations. I am back in business and I'm mobile now.

The past few days have been weird in the weather sense. One day it's spring and the next it's snowing. The poor blossoms on the tree outside my window look bedraggled and sad hanging limply from their twiggy perches. The bright strawberry and cream of a few days ago has become aged and filmed over with the shadow of a capricious spring, one minute waving wildly in a screaming wind and the next drooping with the cold. The sky is a charcoal shaded blue-grey that alternately hides and reveals the mountains. The bark of the trees is riddled with wet seams like the water-dark ridges of a crocodile, the squirrel porn tree giving a craggy wet two-fingered salute to the nearly leaden sky. It is cold and quiet in the street, people huddled closer together as they fight the wind as they pass by, holding their coats and jackets tighter, pulling on gloves and hats down over their pinked ears. And there is more of the same on the way -- so says

I have nearly finished sending files to myself from the desktop computer to my new companion and there are still more bookmarks, links and pages to visit to store in the new bigger memory. At least now I have 1 GIG of RAM to cruise applications and Internet. I have finally arrived in the 21st century and I have a lot of writing still to do.

Now, if I can just remember not to keep reaching for the mouse...

I'll shut up now.

Thursday, April 27, 2006


Hercule Poirot always attributed his flashes of insight in solving crimes to "the little gray cells". I'm sure he knew the color of brains not because he was well versed in anatomy, although he probably was, but because he had eaten enough of them to know the gray pudding that resides within the bony confines of a skull. He was a connoisseur -- of people as well as food.

One of my favorite Agatha Christie mysteries where Hercule is played by Peter Ustinov is Evil Under the Sun. One of the suspects declares that no one saw him during the time of the murder, confident in his belief and fairly arrogant about the insertion. However, someone did see him. He just didn't know it because he did not see them.

When I recently wrote about Michael Bergin's autobiography I mentioned that several people belied his reasons for writing and publishing the book. I found his story honest but it didn't strike me until my mind, doing its usual sifting, collating and matching, hit me with the finished results of its meanderings. There is proof that at least some of what he wrote is true. It's in his book and has been fictionalized in print and in Sex and the City.

Candace Bushnell, author of the columns and the book that became the HBO series, wrote about an underwear model who was managed by a close friend (in the series it was Stanford Blatch) and was called The Bone. The model was straight and his manager gay and in definite lust with the model and Carried took him home one night. They slept together -- but they only slept. The Bone was homesick and a little lost in New York and he and Carrie had some drinks and some talk and some sleep. I remember the episode vividly.

In his book, Bergin mentions spending the night with Candace talking, drinking and sleeping. He also talks about being nicknamed "The Bone" by a friend and that his is his manager's only client, who is gay. Beginning to see the picture? I certainly am, but my little gray cells saw it first.

Bottom line? It's connections. Those little brief encounters with information that don't make an impression at first until the little gray cells beginning sifting, collating and matching information with information and coming up with connections.

What does it matter? It doesn't really. It's just one of those jaunts my mind takes me on from time to time to prove to me that even when I think there are no connections I'm wrong. I may not have initially made the connection but some part of me is still working and will make the connection for me.

Of course, if I wasn't such a big fan of Sex and the City and hadn't read Bergin's book...

But I did.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

A little stone word soup... good for everyone.

This week is flying by at warp speed and I can't tell Scotty to back it off. Wouldn't help. Of course putting in a lot of extra hours to meet a personal goal and make sure I get my share of the work. The doctors have been taking it easy at the hospitals and not doing their work so it makes it tough getting my share of the work when there is little to share and lots of other people wanting to make sure they get a paycheck, too. But that's just the way life goes. So what if I have to work late at night. I get a whole lot more done because there are fewer things -- and people -- to distract me and demand my attention. So why am I writing in the middle of the night when I can't see more than the winking glitter of stars and the lighted eyes of some of the houses up and down the street? Because I'm waiting for work and I wanted to take a break. I'm not technically on the clock right now. I'm downloading work and there is no set schedule -- except the one I have to meet in the morning between 8 and 5. So I've nipped off here for a little pleasure writing.

The weather has been unpredictable and quixotic this week. Sunday it was warm and beautiful and full of the scent and color of spring, then Monday came. Monday was cold and windy with the bite of snow and ice in every gust. The beautiful tree next door with its strawberries-and-cream blossoms were ripped from their branches and flung everywhere. The few remaining yellow butterflies of forsythia clung and shivered in the onslaught, dropping their heads wearily in last night's brief dusting of snow. The pink blossoms looked as though they had given up the ghost and were sadly ragged and limp in the first flare of dawn. As the sun rose higher and the confectioner's sugar dusting on roofs melted and disappeared, the forsythia and strawberry-and-cream blossoms perked up and waved merrily from their precarious perches. The birds sang and the squirrels raced and chattered, plucking deep red berries from the trees. The mountains outside my sunroom window were brightly lit and solid once more, no longer hiding behind a thick soupy veil of fog and iron-gray clouds. Spring returned, but I won't wonder for how long.

I have lived here long enough to know that the weather is a fickle tease, first warm and inviting and then a howling frigid banshee next. My closet is not so full of clothing that I need worry about having packed away my sweaters, especially since I never know when I might need one -- like the past two days. All I need do is look out the windows or take a walk down to the park and I can bask in the wonder of Pike's Peak still clad in winter's ermine and know that whenever I need to cool off snow is not far away even in the blacksmith forge heat of summer.

I have also solved my problem with the local ham organization. I put in place a solid deadline and let the membership and board know that anything I receive after the deadline will be run in next month's issue, and there will be no exceptions. I also agreed to copy the president when I send the latest issue to the printer and to the webmaster to keep him from emailing me and asking when or if the deed was done. It was a small concession on my part, but I noticed that the president made sure I had his column today. I also had a flurry of articles and news items for the May issue, so things are definitely looking up. Everyone wants to see their words in print, which is a far cry from what I had been told before; past editors had to either generate copy or twist arms and sell babies to get copy. I'm sure the B word has passed through a few minds this past week, but I have been called worse -- and by family, too.

In the meantime, I've paid my bills, done some more editing, signed a few more contracts for freelance gigs that pay and am looking forward to painting this weekend -- and writing on my brand new laptop computer. Life is good even when sometimes I miss the bigger picture staring at the squashed bug in the lower right hand corner of the canvas. There is time for everything and I will eventually get to it all. I know that tomorrow is not guaranteed and that there will be things I didn't get to do when my time in this world ends, but I'm not worried. At least I'm enjoying my life, even the rough parts that remind me there is always sunshine and warmth after every howling ice- and snow-toothed storm.

Sunday, April 23, 2006

Surprising bug hunts

I am a voracious reader and dedicated researcher -- or searcher, if you will. A bit of news or a book captures my attention and I set out on one of my bug hunts to find out what is behind the story. Interest in a lot of the books I have read was sparked by a review or a blurb or a single sentence, and many times by a movie I liked or didn't like based on a book. That's how I came to find and love Jane Austen, from a movie. I have always wanted to know the story behind the story. That's how I came to discover The Other Man, a book by model turned actor Michael Bergin.

I didn't know about Bergin and couldn't have cared less. I pay only passing attention to models, super models and actors unless they strike me as particularly interesting. I don't care about their lives, loves or peccadilloes and tabloid features barely pique my interest at the check out counter at the supermarket. I'm more interested in keeping my eyes and hands off the Almond Joys and Heath bars, not to mention the Snickers. My eyes have to have something else to look at while I wait for my turn to pay.

I would have had to be on the moon or beyond the orbit of Pluto not to have noticed John F. Kennedy, Jr. and his wife and sister-in-law's watery end a few years ago, but celebrities don't really excite me. I have met enough of them to know they are just as human and messed up as the rest of us. I'd rather read something more fascinating -- fiction or nonfiction about stem cell controversies and historic figures. I'm glad I read The Other Man and got to know Bergin and Carolyn Bessette through Bergin's eyes. After all, they will one day be the historic figures someone will avoid the tabloids to read about.

Bergin is no writer, but he tells his story in simple language that has the unvarnished ring of truth to it. No matter his motives, and everyone has one, I do not believe he wanted to capitalize on Carolyn's celebrity and death but to tell the truth. Had he been in it strictly for the money I'm certain the intimate details of sex would have been much more lurid and descriptive than "...the four days we spent on my red futon."

The Other Man is a chance to know history from the point of view of someone who actually lived it moment by moment instead of some rehashing scrounged from papers, secondhand accounts and cryptic diaries.

We live in an age where TV, video and tell-all books seldom tell all. We are over exposed and the stories are slanted so as to provide the author -- or those who pay the authors -- a chance to rewrite history and put a positive spin on the events. No one will ever know the whole truth of any story as long as some of the participants remain silent. Although I'm not a fan of celebrity gossip and tell-all books, I will say that I enjoyed the time I spent seeing the world and Carolyn Bessette from Bergin's point of view. True or not, at the end of any book if I feel I haven't wasted my time, I am content. This time I feel I have been given a personal glimpse of a very private and human affair, and I'm glad for the bug hunt that led me to Bergin's book.