Saturday, January 20, 2007

No pleasing

This month's ham club newsletter has been an exercise is frustration. After being told the newsletter took a first class stamp, I bought the stamps with what money I had, added the stamps from my personal stash gathering dust in my stationery box and sent them out only to have them come back a few days later marked "insufficient postage." Lovely. The treasurer bought 24-cent stamps for all 62 newsletters and finally put them in the mail on Thursday. I got the first response to my message to the club about the newsletter snafu. The guy got his newsletter today and he had "no comments on all space used for C.W." CW stands for Morse code. There was a Federal Communication Commission (FCC) announcement that they have taken the Morse code element out of testing to get the more advanced lessons and it was a very hot issue for the amateur radio community. I wrote about it and one of the other members offered up his take on the issue and the demise of the American Way of Life and Liberty and the Pursuit of fundamental Christianity. I took out the religious diatribe since it has no place in a ham radio newsletter. He didn't complain. One guy who has no comments means he has a lot of comments and none of them are good. The rest of the comments I have heard in person is nothing but kudos for such interesting, timely and thoughtfully neutral coverage of a very sticky subject. How does it go? You can't please all of the people.


Or at least ham radio MEN!

The rest of my life is humming along smoothly. I have two new books I'm getting paid to review and I'm currently discussing the possibility of being a reviewer for Publishers Weekly. Now that would be a major coup. One book is an atheist manifesto that is an international best seller originally written in French and the other a literary novel, a sophomore effort. I'm also almost done with my taxes. I've put in the information from my last paycheck of the year but I have to verify everything from the W-2 from work that I haven't received yet. The sooner I get it the sooner I can file and get this year's taxes over with and move on with the rest of the year.

At least the dreams have been exceptional the past couple of nights and everything looks good, really good, for a change. And it's snowing--or it was snowing a few minutes ago. Time to do laundry, put in some review book time and wrestle with more doctors.

That is all. Disperse.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Travel plans

Ever see an ad and decide to check it out? I did just now.

I wanted to be in Antarctica this year but since Dad was diagnosed with metastatic cancer, I realize that's not an option. I still want to travel and one of the places I've dreamed of visiting since I was 8 years old is Egypt. The ad said round trip to Egypt for $322. I knew it wouldn't be that low, but I still wanted to know.

The only time to travel to Egypt is in the winter here because it's cooler there, too. That's when most of the archaeological digs have taken place and when Amelia Peabody and her family have had their greatest adventures, and where Amelia met and married her husband. I'm not interested in getting married, although I have carried on a long correspondence with a retired officer of the Egyptian army, one of whose sons is a diplomat, and who came to visit me on his way to visit his other son who lives in California. For his age (for any age), he is a well spoken and good looking man who speaks English very well and whose manners are impeccable. He offered to fly me to Egypt to visit him and meet his family but I declined. I prefer to make my own plans and pay my own way, although generous offer was quite intoxicating. I haven't thought of Egypt again until I saw that ad this morning.

Anyway, I discovered it would cost about $800 to fly to Egypt and back for 10 days and the dates in December I would be able to go are open. I might even be able to finagle a discount of sorts if I work it right and I did want to travel this year. India is definitely not an option because of the time I have available and the plane changes, etc., but Egypt is a possibility. I would still want to stay in a hotel and not take my gentleman friend up on his offer of staying with him at his estate or with his family for the same reason I'm driving to Ohio next month--I prefer not to rely on anyone for transportation or accommodations. Never know when I might have to leave early or want to go somewhere not on the official itinerary. Or I might just want to take a drive or meet with a friend or two for a private afternoon.

All this does give me something to think about. It would take about 26 hours to get to Egypt by way of Chicago and London, with layovers in both cities, but it just might be doable.

Egypt. Pyramids. Valley of the Kings. Valley of the Queens. Luxor. Abu Simbel. Cairo. Boat trips down the Nile on a pleasure cruise.

Yes, it is definitely doable.

That is all. Disperse and make your own travel plans.

Silliness in the news

It looks like video games are becoming reality with the new Halo body armor. I don't think the morphine feature of the suit is a good idea and I'm still not quite sure whether the cod piece is for protection or just to show who really is has a bigger dick. However, in a world where the Pentagon is willing to shell out $35,000 for a screwdriver, I think $2000 for the armor is a bargain.

For those people who have a lot of disposable income and no sense of what to do with it, having R2D2 project your DVDs onto your very own home theater is the only way to go and the remote control is the Millennium Falcon. I have to say they looked a lot bigger on the screen in the theater when I saw Star Wars but size is definitely relative here.

Then there's a way to freshen the air outside, especially in smog-laden cities where you can barely see through the murk, with scented tires. Lavender is the first available scent for $119-138 per tire. Orange and jasmine are the next scents to roll off the rubber. As someone who works with essential oils I can tell you that too much jasmine smells like feces. I wonder if the inventors figured that into their equation or of they are saying something else with their new product. Hmmmm.

Over here in the unscented mountain air of Colorado, the sun is making an attempt to warm things up and striking gold from the withered leaves still desperately clinging to a few trees. The sky is a wan Colorado blue but it is empty of clouds of any kind. It won't last long since there is more snow on the way on Saturday. The weather was full of snow and rain and hail when I lived northwest of here at the cabin, more snow and rain and hail than the area had seen in years--six to be exact. The ski slopes were busy and the snow machines were quiet while the avalanches roared occasionally down onto the twisting roads leading into and out of the valley and through the pass. The three chiefs rested beneath a deep cover of packed snow and nearly daily powder.

Every time I came down the mountain to Colorado Springs it was as if this side of the Continental Divide was at least a season behind. No snow lay on the ground and the aspens were still golden and well leafed. After I moved here I danced for a whole three minutes in a sprinkling of rain that barely wet the ground while last July and August rain fell most days and the temperatures were far from the dog days I had come to expect. This winter is just as wet and cold and snowy. The landlady says it's El Nino, but I wonder what the real reason for this sudden change in weather habits is all about. One thing I do know is that I am enjoying the cold and the snow and watching skiers glide down the street and past the window where I spend most of my days.

That is all. Disperse.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Frozen fingers

The landlady complained yesterday that she was tired of the snow and cold. "I'm done," she said. "Time to move on." Then she told me this much snow every weekend and such bitter cold was unusual. I think it's really the snow every weekend that keeps us penned up is the real problem. She's off on the weekends and not being able to enjoy doing anything or going anywhere is cramping her style. We have had snow every weekend for the past four and there's more snow coming this weekend. At least the landlady has finally--after 12 years-- figured out how the heating works in this big old house. I haven't had to use my space heater nearly as much and that means lower electric bills for me. The problem is that the nights are too warm when I like them cold and the days are too cold so that my fingers are frozen when I need to work. Not a good thing. At least I don't have to wear nail polish in a horrible blue because my fingers are already that color.

When I went to the board meeting on Monday night the wind chill was down to 24 below. I don't have any gloves (need to do something about that) and cleaning off the foot of snow with an inch of ice on the bottom from the car was no fun. I made it to the meeting after missing Mike's house again. I stopped at the stop sign at the top of the hill and couldn't get my tires to cooperate on the icy slope. I started rolling back down the hill and nearly rolled all the way back to Mike's house. It took me a while to get turned around on the glassy street, finding just enough snow to give me a little traction, and go back down the hill. I stopped at the store on the way home just to get warm--and food--and toddled on home with a comforting box of White Castle hamburgers, otherwise known as slyders. I needed a bit of the good old days of my childhood to make me feel less cold and keep my fingers warm. Of course there were no onion chips or pickles or that soft greasy slide of the little square burgers down my throat but it was close. And they were hot. For the first time in weeks my fingers weren't frozen.

Go figure. Frozen fingers and all and I made scrambled eggs for breakfast with a side of frozen black cherries.

Monday, January 15, 2007

We don't need no little blue pill

Even though older men lust for young women with that look of their tongues hanging out even when their mouths are still closed, they are not the only ones drawn to the vibrancy of youth. Older women, too, feel the urge but their tongues don't hang out whether their mouths are open or closed. Women tend to be, for the most part, subtler about their urges. There are still a few Flos among us, but not many and they are scattered far and wide.

What most people don't understand is that women reach their sexual peak in their middle years and even more so when the monthly tides have finished pulling their bodies and emotions to and fro. No longer dealing with the possibility of pregnancy and the emotional ups and downs, older women are up for just about anything and it seems older men are too busy chasing after women half their age or even younger to spark their dwindling fires even with the little blue pill. Men reach their sexual peak in the latter teens and early twenties and I'm still not sure why Mother Nature felt the need to design it that way unless it was to make sure she had willing partners with plenty of juice in the tube.

Young women need security and comfort and protection when they are bearing children, not that any of those things have been an issue for a very long time since women got out of the kitchen and from under their families' thumbs and out into the work place to earn their own living to buy their own security and comfort and protection. Society has over turned the proverbial apple cart on that biological situation.

In many older cultures, widows and older women taught juice-filled young men about sex and how to please a woman so that when they were old enough and could afford a wife, or wives, they would know what to do to keep their nubile child bearing charges happy and fulfilled. Nowadays, even though Demi Moore has cornered Ashton Kutcher, society looks on the relationships of older women and younger men with a jaundiced eye while it secretly--and not so secretly--applauds older men and women barely out of their teens. Society, in the guise of pharmaceutical companies, even makes it possible for grandfathers to stand and salute these nubile, child bearing women. That's okay. Older women don't need a little blue pill to keep their juices flowing or their stamina because they were built for the long haul.

It is doubtful Maude would ever marry Harold but when he comes to maturity and is old enough to have the kind of stability and security that attracts a nubile girl of child bearing years looking for a safe and comfortable nest he will know what to do to please her and keep her interested in more than his financial stability once the little blue pill kicks in. He can thank Maude for that.

Sunday, January 14, 2007

The little blue pill

In most of the books I've read over the past few weeks there is a recurring theme: older men falling for much younger women. Viagra has been just one of the reasons for this belief that an older man would be attractive to younger women, but it is Stephen King's reasoning in Bag of Bones that I find most interesting, especially contrasted with a recent article about men's preferences, and not just for younger women.

King, in the character of Mike Noonan, best selling author hiding a career ending case of writer's block, writes that younger women want older men because they are more stable and secure: financially and emotionally. Men of middle age have found themselves and are established in a profession. They have lived. Conversely, men are drawn to younger women not only because of the biological urge for procreation but also to women who are unstable because men see adventure and excitement, the very things they feel they have lost by becoming financially and emotionally stable and secure in their professions.

It reminds me of something I heard once. Men marry women expecting them not to change and women marry men expecting to be able to change them. It is the dichotomy of the species that Men are from Mars and Women are from Venus attempted to explain.

It never occurs to men that the damsel in distress they find so appealing is probably going to spend the rest of her life running from one chaotic situation to another, upsetting his stable world and draining his finances if she sticks around for any length of time or that he is willingly taking on Sisyphus's task of eternally rolling the ball uphill only to have it crash to the bottom so that he must start all over. He doesn't see the jagged murderous rocks as he is lured to destruction by the siren's call.

Then I am reminded of Samantha Jones from Sex and the City who was successfully (for a time) lured to the stark reality of an 80-year-old billionaire's bed by the glittering promises of diamonds and Viagra only to run screaming from the sight of his wrinkled and sunken behind as he stopped in the midst of foreplay to relieve himself. Samantha got out of Dodge very quickly and the security and stability she saw in the aging Romeo with a pocket full of little blue pills.

Even Philip Roth in The Human Stain contrasts a writer who survived prostate cancer intact without his libido, something he felt he had easily and painlessly left behind, with a 71-year-old retired dean of a college having an illicit affair with an illiterate and battered woman whose Vietnam veteran husband stalks them and blames her for the deaths of their two children. The writer is drawn into Silk's life as a moth drawn to a flame just as surely as the stable and secure retired dean is drawn to Faunia, the beast of his youthful libido awakened by a pocket full of little blue pills.

I wonder if it is the chemical miracle of those little blue pills that has writers dwelling on the these May-December romances or the fact that the writers themselves are looking into the beast's sleeping face and daring to waken him while they stand looking after the damsels in distress with their tongues hanging out even when their mouths are closed. Or is this the libidinous version of King Midas's lust for gold that was nearly his undoing? Only time will tell as more and more authors look into their winter years and rage against the dying of that lustful light, reaching into their pockets and their dreams for one of those little blue pills.