the late winter drag

Even though we have had another non-winter and more sunny days than usual, the season is beginning to grate on me a bit. Late winter tends to crank up the vestiges of SAD (seasonal affective disorder). I don't descend into a major depression; it's more accurately described as ennui. Which is a clever French word that describes someone who's simultaneously a bit bored and a bit depressed.

And since Valentine's Day is tomorrow, I am busy feeling sorry for men. (Except Ian*, who knows he's off the hook.)  It's a silly, depressing occasion for several reasons. There's no chance of a spontaneous gesture of affection, the stores are full of stupid balloons and teddy bears, and a depressingly large percentage of women will be pissed off in juvenile fashion if their significant other doesn't present them with some tawdry gift. 

Lastly, an occasionally unpleasant aspect of perimenopause snuck up on me last week and attacked with a vengeance. I woke up last Monday bleeding so heavily that it looked like someone had filmed a slasher movie while I slept. (These occasional mega-periods are actually called "flooding" by gynaecologists.)

Tuesday I was in so much pain that I got very little done. But the worst happened Wednesday afternoon, when I discovered mid-afternoon that I had actually bled onto my office chair. This is the sort of thing that happens to 13-year old girls, not card-carrying members of the AARP.  Thankfully I was wearing black pants, but I ended up staying until everyone else had gone so I could attempt to clean the blood off the chair. I wasn't able to do this very well with the supplies on hand, so I finally switched the chair out with one in an unoccupied office.

But things are looking up. I think I may have actually bullied the boss into a decent raise and it's become easier to find new homes for my foster cats. Onward and upward, wimmin, and don't forget to download the Make America Kittens Again extension for your Chrome browser. 

* See The Usual Suspects.


Very different and very funny

Part of my rejection of cable TV included a subscription to Amazon Prime. I already had Netflix and Hulu - I would switch them on and off when I ran out of stuff to watch on one of them. But when Amazon offered me a 30-day free trial I went for it. 

There's plenty of movies that are ie lncluded with Amazon Prime, which means you don't have to pay extra. I spotted a trailer for this movie (it's best to click on the YouTube link to watch - it's a bit squashed here.)

It was crude, surreal, and very funny. It even managed to include an intelligent piece of chewed gum that paid homage to the physicist Stephen Hawking.

More about my 2017 later this week. It hasn't been as dull as you may be thinking.


my next car

Last night I was catching up on a series called The Man in the High Castle on Amazon prime. It is a dystopian, "what if the Nazis had won the war?" story, and a generally good watch except that a couple of characters tend to go off into confusing alternate universe tangents. I think I need to order the book.

During a scene filled with well-off Nazi Berliners, a pretty blonde drove away in a yellow two-seater convertible I didn't recognize. I confess it gave me some serious girl wood, especially as I was fascinated by the pocket doors. I'd never seen a car with pocket doors before.

I surfed around and eventually identified the car as a 1954 Kaiser Darrin. Here are a couple of photos:

Some background on the car:

"The Kaiser-Darrin was America’s first production fiberglass sports car, with its prototype built before the Corvette, although production did not begin until 1954. It was powered by the reliable Willys six-cylinder engine, and its design became a legend of 1950s motoring, with sweeping front fenders that plunged behind the doors into a “Darrin dip,” a split windshield, and a distinctive “rosebud” grille, which, it was commented, always looked like it wanted to give someone a kiss. Most fascinating of all were Darrin’s beloved “pocket” doors, which slid forward into the front fenders to permit entry and exit. Darrin promoted sliding doors for decades, claiming that they were a very safe alternative as they did not open into traffic."

Only 435 were produced as, alas, it couldn't compete with other imported roadsters. It was considered underpowered and too expensive for most. 

Perhaps one of these will be my next car when I have about $160k spare lying around.


holiday eccentricities

Even though my BMW wasn't repaired in time for December 25, the holidays turned out to be considerably better than expected. 

I met Daniel* earlier in the week as I had done his charitable shopping for him. When I brought him his angel tree gift, he surprised me with two gift cards worth $100. One for my birthday and one for Christmas. For a few seconds I felt rather bad as I hadn't bought him anything, but then I found myself extremely amused: an ex-boyfriend had spent more on me than the current models.

For the first time in three years, Ian* bought me some flowers. He had even asked me what sort of lingerie I'd like, but I told him I was abstaining from new lingerie purchases until I lost a little weight. The flowers were/are quite pretty.

Rachel* bought me a Frank Lloyd Wright calendar she had noticed me coveting at a book store. 

After a dinner at Buzzbrews Christmas Eve, Rachel noticed a lonely Fraser fir standing outside the local garden center with a FREE sign on it. So of course we snagged it. Now all I have to do is to find some ornaments for it.

We even managed a Christmas dinner that we all decided was much better than the usual turkey and stuffing drill. Since Rachel was driving Deepa (another friend, more about her later) to the airport, Deepa insisted we stop at a vegetarian Indian restaurant, Saravanaa Bhavan, a few miles from the airport. I confess I stuffed myself with pirotta and biryani. Even the madras/chicory coffee was superb. 

* See The Usual Suspects


who's naughty, who's nice

Not everything about the infamous Ashley Madison hack was negative. Some researchers decided to take a look at the users and come up with a typical AshMad user - here's the abstract:

Ashley Madison(.com) has earned several million dollars facilitating extramarital affairs online; however, the market determinants of online infidelity matchmaking have not been researched. The now-infamous customer data breach in 2015 provided a unique opportunity to analyze a large population of individuals (N=702,309) who paid to engage in extramarital affairs using Ashley Madison. Aggregating this sensitive data into spatial units, we measured the relationship between several theorized market determinants and Ashley Madison subscription and spending rates in major United States markets.

We found income is the leading market determinant for internet-facilitated infidelity, indicating the service behaves as a luxury good; further, several characteristics related to infidelity at the individual-level were also significant, including the negative relationship between religiosity and infidelity. Strong regression model performance suggests these results are robust insights into the market for online infidelity-matchmaking.

My only problem is that, since the site has so many more male members (pardon the pun) than women, the research only looks at the men. Clicky here to read the entire article.