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Car, Computer, Body, Mind

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Dear John LeCarre: I have the title for your next suspense novel…

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CAR, COMPUTER, BODY, MIND

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I’m often frustrated by mechanical and technological equipment, like cars and computers. To metaphorize (I don’t know if this is a real word!) this, our bodies (car) and minds (computers) can become frustrating too.

Our world is full of amazingly wonderful creations that simplify and enrich our lives.

  • I can talk face-to-face with my kids wherever they are in the world at the touch of a SKYPE app on an iPad.
  • I can look at my bank statements from home or from Asia or South America if I choose.
  • I can drive to my job in Kelowna with heat in the winter, cooling on a scorching summer day, while listening to music that I choose from my home library of 1000’s of music selections.

I push one button on these machines and they perform feats of magic…no need to feed the horse on a cold, dark morning or chop some wood before something happens.

I love them, but I hate them at the same time. When they work efficiently and listen to what I tell them and do the things I want…I love ’em (kinda like kids, eh?).

But honestly, I don’t understand the inner workings very well, and I know intellectually that they will thrive and live longer, happier lives if I just do the things the owner manuals tell me I should do. A teaspoon of oil here…a little backup of data there, and I’m good for another 3 months or 3 days or whatever.

So Do I Do It?…well…sometimes, but more frequently I tell myself that once I finish this next job or project, then I’ll do the important maintenance. Mañana…most often, mañana!

I have a friend who does all of his own car maintenance…changes oil, lubricates belts, fixes the midwinter jicker, fine tunes the grickily gructus. He spends hours every month doing the makeup on his car, and it hums on for years and years with nary a complaint. I have no doubt that he backs up the data on his computer every week too…damn him!

Maybe It’s Time To Change The Oil!

I’ve always been very poor at maintaining my automotive vehicles and computers. Unfortunately, I live in this weird and unnatural state of belief that if I just ignore them and carry on using them day after day, month after month, they’ll behave and look after me without any love in return. It just feels like I’m wasting time that I can use to do more productive things like write or make music, or run, or watch girls playing beach volleyball.

I know ignoring maintenance doesn’t make sense…just like if I don’t return an answer to your lovely, chatty, fun e-mail in the next week or month, you just might not send me a message ever ever again, and will hate me to boot. (BTW, I will write you (the metaphorical you) back soon, I promise!). I appreciate that you took the time to write and thoroughly enjoyed your message and want you to send 3 more just like it. But just like my car and computer, the maintenance needed to keep our friendship alive takes work and effort and there are so many other things to do. Please don’t hate me…Mañana!

I guess what it comes down to is that I take too many things for granted.

I would NEVER take this for granted!

I expect that my car will work everyday and take me where I want to go. I expect that my computer will light up every morning and reveal the world to me in so many ways that I could not have even imagined just a decade ago.

And more importantly, I expect that the body and mind that have served me pretty damned well for 50 plus years will just keep on ticking along and doing miraculous things day after day forever and ever. Maintenance free.

Once again, I’m living in the world of fanciful thinking. I have to splash myself in the face with some icy cold water and realize what’s going on. As an atheist, my belief system tells me that I have, at best, 20 to 30 years of breath remaining in my eternal existence. If you believe in an afterlife, I jealously admire your ensuing eons of existence…pray for this sad heathen in the millennia to come!

The past few years have been hell for many of my friends and relatives. While respectable statistics tell me our world is full of people living longer lives, my own world is snowballing with the stories of cancerous days…nights filled with pain…smiles tinged with sadness. Is everyone living longer except for the people I care about? Maybe I’m just navel-gazing, but it makes me melancholy.

Melancholic feelings can lead to totally inappropriate humour

The length and quality of one’s life is dependent on so many factors and influences: genes, lifestyle issues like smoking or heavy drinking, amount of exercise, air quality in your city, being married to Henry VIII…LUCK! Like, “why did that car T-bone the guy right behind me in the intersection?”  Diabetes (Type-2) is a largely lifestyle-related epidemic. I work in a medical lab where I’m seeing 100 NEW cases of diabetes cropping up EVERY MONTH in a population of just 150,000.

Instinctively and logically, personal maintenance plays a role for  all of us. Let’s work together to keep our cars (bodies) and computers (minds) in a well-oiled and backed-up state. Granted, it’s not an iron-clad guarantee that we’ll live 20 years longer…some of us will just drop dead unexpectedly, or develop testicular cancer after using athletics-enhancing drugs, who knows? But why tempt fate:

  • Eat healthy foods i.e.. more vegetables, less red meat
  • Exercise a whole bunch of times every week at something you enjoy…even if it’s just walking or pole-dancing or maybe dancing “gangnam-style”!
  • Sleep 1/3 of your life away
  • Love your job or leave it…the stress just ain’t worth it
  • Be good to your friends and relatives
  • Laugh a lot…especially at yourself…or me, why not?

I’m a bad-ass…it’s all about selfishness.

I want to be around for quite a few more years…I want my friends and relations to live long, healthy lives…I want YOU to live for a long, long time.

The story I internalize is that the time to look after our human health is in our early years, but, it’s ALWAYS better late than never. Quitting smoking today might give you a year or two that you wouldn’t have otherwise.

My car may smoke and croak on the side of the highway...I’ll try to take it for it’s 5,000 kilometre service check.

My computer might just melt in an oozing sizzle of wire and silicon chips…I’ll sign up for a cloud-based backup system that does its thing automatically.

My body aches the day after a visit to the gym…must have been a good workout…I’ll feed it well and keep up the good work!

My mind aches after a month of studying Spanish everyday in Barcelona…must have been a good mental workout…I’ll do another Sudoku, conjugate some verbs and keep up the good work!

You see, I want “binders full of long-lived friends and relatives”.

Romney and HEF…new presidential team!!

So, write up this story John LeCarre!!

I Don’t Give A Sheet, Even If They Are Purple!

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Adult Content ..

I use some written images your Mother might not approve of!

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What colour is YOUR bedroom?

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FINALLY…no need for Viagra or Cialis…shed your grey walls…all you need is a purple room and you’re off to the Coital Cup!

Surely you jest, says you. It’s true, according to British online  retailer Littlewoods.com . Couples who have painted their walls lilac or have purple bedclothes make love on average 3.5 times a week.

Sorry- 3.5?? I want to know if it was the men or women who couldn’t make it all the way to 4! Would I sound biased if I said it must be the women?

Another damn gratuitous photo…but what a fabulous purple futon!

Back to the poll… they surveyed 2,000 adults and found the next most passionate are those with red in their boudoir, who get frisky 3.2 times per week. Those with sky blue bedrooms came third, having it 3.1 times on average a week. Sadly, the least passionate are those with grey walls or duvet covers, who have sex just 1.8 times.

And even more sad still?…It probably won’t surprise you to know that my bedroom is heavily tilted towards the GREY (like 50 Shades of Grey!) spectrum, top to bottom…I’m an underachiever!

Grey_Sheets

I don’t know either…Do you think we should put the purple sheets on the bed?

Do you really think that the hue of your boudoir or the tint of your sheets affects the quantity (or quality) of lovemaking that occurs in your life?

I DON’T!

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Let’s face it– straight men don’t care about the colour of the walls or the sheets (our gay brethren likely prefer a more aesthetically pleasing palate of tone to stir their juices, and good on them!). In fact, nooky doesn’t require a bedroom or sheets at all for most men. I learned this important lesson when I watched the first Godfather movie. Sonny Corleone (James Caan) does (you know, DOES!!) one of the bridesmaids at his sister’s wedding, right up against the wall…and no, the wall was NOT purple! Sonny was my favourite character in those movies after that scene…

If my own personal preference is any guide, a woman wearing pink or red clothing is a far greater turn-on than any bedroom colours could ever be. There is a fire that is stoked inside me like a bull’s attraction to the cape when I see a fiery red-garbed female nearby. Forget the Devil in the Blue Dress… My Devils come in Red Dresses!

I want to be charitable and constructive here. Let me assist in your Olympian libidinous quest.

Far ahead of any bedroom colours I would put the following 3 tools forward as helpful if I was looking to beef up the carnal frequency:

  • SCENT– they say that men are inflamed by the smell of lavender and pumpkin pie. Maybe, but I personally believe that a woman immersed in chocolate could keep me interested for decades to come. On a female level, some research has shown that the combined scent of cucumber and Good and Plenty, a licorice-flavored candy, ranked as the top potent aphrodisiac smell. Good and Plenty. Was there a subliminal sexual advertising message implied when they named that confection, or what?
  • STAY IN SHAPE – the tactile feel of a fit (not necessarily super buff) body is a natural aphrodisiac between the covers. We all know that running, or swimming, or playing soccer, or even just walking regularly are going to add years to our life and life to our years. Not only is it hot sexy to share a bed with someone in good physical condition, but we feel better about what we bring to the seduction party when we’re fit too! This is great for your fitness, your overall health…add in a teaspoon of sex and it becomes the trifecta of The Joy of Cooking!
GOSLING_STONE

Fit, fun and sexy

  • GET RID OF BAD STRESS- Hans Selye wrote his famous 1974 book called  Stress without Distress detailing both the positive and negative sides of stress. We all need some stress to perform optimally in life. But, pass a certain point…and the stress is … well… stressful. Negative. Harmful. Sex Drive Lethal. No 3-car-garage house you can’t afford, a job you hate, or negative friends, are going to boost your passion and feelings of sensuality. Get out the flame-thrower. Ditch the negative things that are in your power to change (and some things can’t be changed, we just have to accept those).  The hormones you pump out to cope with painful stress can be exchanged for the pleasurable hormones you pump out in the bedroom mosh pit! That is a trade well worth making…

I think The Color Purple was a great Whoopi Goldberg movie. Sad, but great. Colour provides us a metaphor for so many things that explain our lives… “feeling blue”, “the pot calling the kettle black”, “green with envy”. But as far as bedroom colour goes, no purple for this boy. I’d prefer to be rocking the Sacred Cave while watching The RED Shoe Diaries. 

RED_SHOE_DIARIES

I’m Dying To Get Sick Like A Woman

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I know you want The Straight Goods from me…you deserve nothing less. So here goes:

Frankly…as a man, there is probably nothing more satisfying than to hear the sound of a woman moan (perhaps for a woman it’s the sound of a baby’s coo?-I tell you, we’re from different planets!!). It’s primal, and its ego building; what could make a fella feel more satisfied than to think that his prowess can have such a profound effect on another person.

But in this case, a woman moaning is nothing to tell all the boys about in the locker room (and just for the record, I don’t think many boys really do babble about these things anyway). I’m talking about getting sick…you know, colds, flus and other things that make us feel crappy and more miserable than the day we move our clocks forward an hour.

(Please put some cyanide in the cup and let’s get it over with)

Just for comparison purposes, let’s review the “sick” differences in the sexes, shall we? These are the afflictions that prey upon women either in similar numbers or in greater predominance than men:

  • Cold
  • Flu
  • Migraine Headaches
  • Breast Cancer
  • Uterine Cancer
  • Gallstones
  • Bladder Infections
  • Irritable Bowel Syndrome
  • Multiple Sclerosis
  • Rheumatoid Arthritis
  • Osteoporosis
  • Anxiety Disorders

And now, the list for Men:

  • Cold
  • Flu
  • Prostate Cancer
  • Cirrhosis
  • Death

Notice the length of these lists and the nasty final one for men? Yes, the woman’s list IS longer.  But the final indignity to men is that we die younger despite not being as frequently sick.

In a British study of 1000 men and 1000 women they found that:

  • Men pull an average of 140 sick days over their working life, while women call in sick 189 times.
  • 21 per cent of men and 26 per cent of women have faked an illness to take a day off work (I think this explains why Meg Ryan was so good at faking ecstasy in the movie When Harry Met Sally…more practice!)
  • 46 per cent of men and 62 per cent of women have been to the doctor in the last year.
  • In both Canada and the U.S. there is about a 4.5 year spread in life expectancy between men and women, favouring women.
Film still from the famous restaurant scene

(She can fake a lot better than he can!)

Now I MAY be exaggerating in the lists above a TINY bit for effect but it seems patently clear that if a God existed- especially if God was a Man this situation just wouldn’t be allowed to exist. But just for a moment, let’s assume that God has made this situation. Why would he/she set up a lifetime of  suffering for women – I can hear you saying, well God created MAN, and what could cause more suffering for women than this! – while giving men a pass on disease, sickness and ailments, only to strike them down unannounced in their prime? Given a choice, neither situation seems very fair.

I want to live longer…women want to be sick less…TRUE?

Granted, men do smoke more (although women are working damned hard to catch up) and they do stupid things like walk across Niagara Falls on high wires and jump over buses on motorcycles. This accounts for a certain inequality in age of death between the sexes, but doesn’t really adjust for the full difference.

Most would agree that men may not get sick as often as women but we make up for a lack of quantity of sickness with a quality of whining and moaning and exaggeration.

A woman gets a cold, she says, “Oh, I’ve just got the sniffles“. A man gets a cold and cries out, “I have pneumonia and I’m dying“.  If it’s a headache, the woman says, “Give me a couple of tylenol and I’ll be fine“…us manly types say “I think I have a migraine and it may even be a brain tumour“. When I get a cold, I put on my old Hamilton Tiger Cat shirt and ask for at least 2 extra couch days –“..more chicken soup and can you fluff my pillow again please”.

A toe tag on a toe of a dead body

Which would you prefer…a cold…OR this?

Knowing all of the info above, leads us to some obvious answers to what ails women and what kills men. It has to do with the “whine factor”. To even out the mortality charts between men and women I propose that women take up the grouse and grumble and wimp out more like their manly counterparts. This will surely knock a year or two off the female life expectancy advantage.

For my part, I don’t have the greatest longevity genes but to extend my life I’m going to try to stop whining and babying myself when I get sick. And I hope my relatives and friends will look at me suffering and just say, “Oh come on, WOMAN UP!”