Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Hey Fatass - The Shorts....

It's getting warmer and more sunny, which can only mean one thing: air conditioning. Ok, air conditioning and leaving the house. Two things: air conditioning, leaving the house, and hamfests. THREE things...

For newer readers, a hamfest has absolutely nothing to do with pork or pork products. Hams are amateur radio operators and this is, for lack of better term, a radio and electronics flea market. There are many across the US at different times, weather depending.

A hamfest is a unique event. World War II was also a unique event.
Let me try this again. A hamfest is a wonderful insight into a universe you've never seen or possibly heard about.

Unattached ladies - if you're looking for Marriage Material, or are horribly desperate, this is the place to be.  You can peruse all sorts of men and pick one who matches your standards and likes. You can find overweight men, overweight men with suspenders, grossly overweight men, and men on scooters. Dark-haired men with short hair, dark-haired men with long hair, many gray-hairs and the odd gray-haired man with a pony tail. For the entire time I've been attending hamfests, I can recall one man with blond hair. I have no idea why this is.  Some of these fellas will probably die quickly, leaving you the insurance money.

As for men looking for women, you might as well go buy a single winning lottery ticket at your local convenience store. At certain events, Mrs. lefty was one of two women. This is a big plus for women, because you're going to be the best-looking woman at the fest (if not the only woman). The one or two there seem to be spouses or vendors. Having said that, there were a lot of women there today. It was bizarre. In addition to being stared at by lots of men, Mrs. lefty was stared at by women, mostly with sour, jealous faces. Some women are weird.

It's not that there are no women in amateur radio - their ranks seem to grow yearly. You can routinely turn on your receiver and hear women locally. You can also hear local men, gabbing about nothing with the women, all of them sounding like women. One must take a test to operate these radios.

Hams go back to the beginning of time, or rather, the beginning of amateur radio. Some operated in the military, some picked it up as a hobby. Some built radios themselves, out of scrapped televisions and other electronics. They did what was necessary. They are quite a crafty lot. Possibly because of this, they are cheap. Oh my dog are they cheap. As bad as you've seen it at any other flea markets, hams can sometimes take it to their own exclusive level.

For a group that's almost one hundred percent gentlemen, there is some rude, confusing behavior. They walk right past you, as if you're invisible, and stand there at the tables, blocking all views of the merchandise. Maybe this happens at flea markets in general, I don't know. If a new vendor shows up late, they go into Swarm Mode and attack. You can't get within ten feet of the new table.

And what can one see for sale at these events? I think there's a word limit on blogs. The obvious would be radios. Lots of radios. Tons of radios. Radios in all shapes and sizes. Very expensive recent radios and some ancient tube radios that weigh just under one hundred pounds and are referred to as boatanchors. Then there are parts of radios: tiny little resistors, capacitors, coils, transformers and bits of this and that, some older than me. Tons of tubes, almost none of them useful, unless you like to fix really old televisions.

But that's not all! I like radios, to be sure, but there are so many weird objects, some completely unrelated, that make things more interesting. Did your VCR from the nineties crap out and you need one to transfer tapes? There were ten there, with remotes, in great condition. Computer buff? There are a lot of old, refurbished computers for sale, as well as old networking equipment. Old cables, old monitors, and really old cables. Old mice, old software, old peripherals. A huge box of cassette adapters from when you'd plug your mp3 player into your car stereo. A large collection of 8track tapes. Military surplus hats with the flap down the back so you don't get neck sunburn. Very expensive flashlights that can blind you and tiny laser pointers that can burn a hole through your skull.  Sports baseball caps, old but unused drink cozies, Barbies, costume jewelry, and a ton of old CDs and DVDs (and albums). Even a bunch of sound equipment, removed from several installations. How can one not go to these events?

I bought an SVGA cable, because one of mine is getting temperamental, for the lofty price of two dollars.

I am taking a good-natured shot at radio amateurs. By and large, they're a great group of fellows (and a few women) who would do anything for anyone. Remember: when the cell phone networks went down on 9-11, amateur radio continued to operate. They offer their services in disasters and practice for them so they're ready. Never a penny changes hands - it's completely volunteer by honorable people.


Since we were hungry and since we don't have them anywhere near us, we stopped at Waffle House. For some reason, this absolutely thrills Mrs. lefty and the internal kids.  We followed two girls in; one tall, the other not. One attractive, the other not. By this point you know that the attractive one is dressed for the weather. The other one, about forty pounds overweight, is wearing short shorts. When I say short shorts, I mean the kind that only barely cover your buttocks. Unfortunately, parts of her buttocks were intent on escaping and were having great success in their endeavor. This might not have been visible from the front, but we had the misfortune to be round the back. Fortunately this did not put us off our waffles.

Waffle House must be an offshoot of Walmart. I say this because of the employees, but mostly the clientele. Every hair color you can imagine, except brown or blonde or red. More tattoos than a tattoo shop. More piercings than Uncle Fester's bed of nails (and those are the ones we can see).

We passed a place called Indoor Skydiving. Good thing I wasn't driving, because I had to sit AND think about this for a while. How do they get the planes into the building? After watching fifteen seasons of Air Crash Investigation, I know this isn't practical. It's also too small for an amusement park ride. I'm told by someone much smarter that there's a huge fan at the bottom, which keeps you in midair, hence skydiving.  I like the plane idea better.

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