Interesting times

Jeez, what an intense couple of weeks! Every winter I say I’m going to go south for a vacation, but when the time comes I always find some lame excuse not to. Well, this year is different. The plane ticket is bought, and the plans are made. I’m off to Mexico in two weeks time, for a two week self-directed tour of the Yucatan peninsula.Deciding to go there over my other options (Costa Rica, Venezuela, and Trinidad & Tobago) required a lot of reading and researching, but what it finally boiled down to is that this one’s the easiest, although certainly not the least expensive. Besides, I’ve been wanting to go to some of these places for years. I’ve got reservations made for about half of the trip, just because the “Mexican Riviera” has become so expensive that I don’t want to show up somewhere and have everything full except the $125US/night places. I have a few alternative itineraries, but I’m staying open and flexible, because I may want to go where the wind (or the Danish/Spanish/Scottish/whatever babe I may meet along the way) goes.

Then there is the small detail of buying a condo. As I reported earlier, I had made an offer on a place but in the end I wasn’t satisfied with it. I broke the deal, and that night found a really wonderful place. It had just gone on the market that day, and I made an offer before the clock struck midnight. Talk about moving fast!

Then I had to pay for another building inspection, sign a million papers, arrange for a mortgage, and decipher the condo agreement. It’s now a done-deal, all except the notary and the final signing, which won’t take place until the end of April. I move in the first week of May, which seems like a million years from now. You can get a peek at the place here.

During all of this I’ve also been sick, with a low-level flu-like thing scratching around inside me sapping my energy.

Finally, to top it all off (and to shake the foundation a bit), I survived a round of layoffs at work. *gulp* One does not want to hear “layoffs” in the same week as “your mortgage has been approved.” But I did survive it. Unfortunately, Steve my office-mate did not.

Types of Babes.

Bill’s and Partygirlie’s comments after my Sexualist vs. Sensualist post, in which they talk about getting off on/in libraries and bookstores has prompted me to reveal my highly coveted list of Types of Babes. Keep in mind this is blork talking, so I’m not going to fall into that rut where “babe” means some kind of Barbie doll chick. Au contraire, a Barbie doll-type has to work extra hard on other things to overcome that handicap.

As such, for the purpose of this (and any further) discussion, a “babe” is a female person who isn’t hard on the eye-bones (this is very subjective and widely variable), and who exhibits the proverbial je ne sais quoi that transforms her out of the morass of the ordinary into the exhalted realm of the extraordinary. This can be as simple as how she wears her scarf, but is usually a complex arrangement of physical characteristics (with “cleanliness” at the top), plus style, attitude, smarts, wit, sensibility, and lack of annoying habits.

There are, however, a number of specific short-cuts, which are categorized below. If a woman fits into one of these categories, the chances of her achieving “babe” status increases by a full order of magnitude.

Thus, for your intellectual enjoyment, I present blork’s taxonomy of babeness:

  • Women in book stores (book store babes)
  • Women who drink scotch whiskey and don’t make a big deal of it (highlander babes)
  • Women in long black dresses who play the cello (cello babes)
  • Women who will eat just about anything I put in front of them (not-fussy babes)
  • Women who fall down when they laugh (fall-down-laughing babes)
  • Women who love to travel (travelling babes)
  • Women who love my cat (Spiff-lovin’ babes)
  • Women who know how to be angry without being hurtful (non-nasty babes)
  • Women who are jounalists—particularly Canadian TV journalists (news babes)
  • Women who don’t think I’m a dope (very astute babes)
  • Women who wear big knobby sweaters (sweater babes)
  • Women with Russian accents (ruška-babeškå)
  • Women who write plays, novels, or magazine articles (writerly babes)
  • Women who are astronauts from Quebec (les cosmo-babes)
  • Women who ride scooters (scooter babes)
  • You, if you’re still reading this

We eat!

For the next week I plan to write down and report to you at the end of each day everything that I have eaten that day. I do this for three reasons: (1) because I want to see it in writing for myself, (2) by publishing it here I hope to shame myself into eating less, and (3) because my millions of fans want to know!

I will report everything. I won’t break it down by times or meals, but it will be in chronological order. I am not, strictly speaking, on a diet, although I am trying to be more careful about what I take in. I am very loosely following the Montignac method, meaning I try to separate fats from carbohydrates (i.e., don’t eat both at the same meal), and I avoid processed sugar and white flour. (A note to those avoiding white flour: most “multigrain” breads you see on the market are full of white flour.) Most of what I eat is home-made. Also, my morning coffee has half 2% milk and half cream, but no sugar. (Shaddap, I like it that way.)

I’ll be blogging about other things too, but at the end of each day there will always be a food count. Starting today.

Wednesday’s Yummies
• Oatmeal with apples and cinnamon
• 1 large coffee
• 1 low-fat lemon-multigrain muffin
• 1 breaded & baked chicken breast with steamed broccoli
• 1 apple
• 1 banana
• Simple salad of greens and grated carrots with a whisper of white wine vinegrette
• Gluten-free corn flour penne pasta with roasted tomato sauce
• 1 glass of red wine

I hate the cost of saving a few bucks!

In January of 1993 some idiot kicked in my door and stole all of my cameras and my VCR. I was a student of photography at Concordia U. at the time, so losing my cameras was a real blow, on top of the fact that the woman I was married to had walked out a week earlier.

Aside from the trauma of the violation, which included a boot print on one of my pillows and a couple of horrified cats, it turned out to be like winning the lottery, because I was insured.Basically, I traded in an armload of broken and shopworn early-80s-era Minoltas for a full and up-to-date Nikon kit that I had previously not even dared dream of.

In there somewhere I also got a new VCR. I decided to save $50 by buying the non-stereo version of the very expensive 4-head Sony VCR that I had selected. What was the point, considering my TV had only one speaker? (Historians will note that I did, however, toss an extra $200 for half an f-stop on the 50mm f1.4 lens that I chose over the more conventional f1.8 model.)

Two years later I was much better paid at work, had a much bigger TV, and was able to run a VCR through my stereo had it been a stereo VCR! In the meantime, I had taken maybe one or two photos with the 50mm 1.4 lens, prefering instead the more natural–for me–28mm wide-angle lens.

Alas, my VCR was not stereo. So I spent several years in mono (occasionally running a split mono feed through the stereo speakers). Then, a year or so ago my (then) girlfriend suddenly found herself without a VCR. She was still running a straight-to-(20-year-old)-television feed, so my mono machine was perfect for her, and it was still running like it was brand new.

So I jumped at the opportunity… I passed the Sony machine on to her (in exchange for many smooches) and upgraded my VCR. Not long after that I went insane and ended up with a 5-channel stereo receiver, 5.1 speaker system, DVD player, etc.

OK, OK, so I got over the woes of my $50 savings from 1993. What I didn’t tell you is this. Just before my recent sound-system upgrade rampage, I bought a 5-disk carrousel CD player for the insanely low price of about $120 (CDN). I got the cheap, but widely regarded, RCA RP8065. For a few dollars more I could have gotten the RP8070. The only difference is that the RP8070 has an optical output for pure digital delivery to the receiver. Big Freakin’ Deal sez I. I don’t even have a freakin’ digital receiver!

A month later I had a digital receiver.

OK, frankly, I doubt I can tell the difference aurally. But the difference smashed me over the head last night when I went to transfer a mix CD I had made on my PC to a MiniDisc. My MD recorder is a portable player/recorder that came with an optical cable for direct digital recording from a CD player to MD. But I can’t do that because my CD player doesn’t have an optical output! My only workaround is a bunch of analog patches. Can you spell D-E-G-R-A-D-E? REM never sounded so fuzzy.

Alternatively, I can buy an RCA-to-¼inch patch cord for not much less than I would have paid for the upgrade to the more expensive machine with the optical feed, and suffer only minor analog humiliation.

As much as I like to think of myself as something of an anti-materialist, this is a lesson learned and unlearned and relearned, over and over: Think ahead!