We Don’t Talk Any More

I operate an amateur radio station. I talk to people around the world. Or I use to. The world changed.

I grew up on an Indian (Amerindians) reservation. Our house was a quarter mile from the paved road. You had to go another quarter mile to get to the little village where 80 or so people lived. The next nearest town was across the state line.

As a small child I was forbidden to walk that last quarter mile to the village/town. I could see the houses of the village from where we lived, but they could have been on the moon.

People must have thought I was nuts, I liked school. There were others at school to play with, to talk to.

We had a TV (black and white). I remember watching Zoorama broadcast from the San Diego Zoo. We didn’t have a radio.

When I discovered radio, I discovered that you could not only listen to someone talking, but certain people had radios and they could talk to other people. I was all in.

This was in the late 1950s, early 1960s. The telephone in our house was for business and not a toy. Everything about a telephone cost money. You couldn’t even own a telephone, you rented it from Ma Bell.

So I got into Ham radio. I’ve talked to many people and have a great time.

The radio conditions vary due to the sun in an eleven year cycle. You have a string of good years followed by a string of bad years. We are in the bottom of the cycle where it’s hard to talk to people far away form you. That doesn’t mean I don’t try. I get on the radio and call and call. Lately I haven’t been making any contacts.

I just got back from a radio conference and at the conference I found that I’m not the only one that is having this problem.

Digital has invaded my hobby. It goes by the name of FT-8 and it’s like texting. Instead of talking to someone you type in some basic information. It’s worst than texting. It does allow you to contact people when condition will not allow contacts with the old ways, like voice or with Morse code. But like texting, it’s sterile, impersonal, and you’re only allowed to send a tiny bit of information. It’s just not friendly. It’s one step above junk mail.

Terry Patchett touched on this in his book Going Postal, where the clacks (a telegraph that used light signals) replaced the post office. The line in the story where a letter could be “sealed with a kiss” really stuck with me. It’s a lot more work to pick up the microphone and talk to someone ratter than send them a canned message. Can you care about someone if all you do is send them the equivalent of junk mail?

Would you rather read about someone who talks to the people they care about. I don’t think I would care about a character that just texts the important people in her life. The character need to show they care, and that’s not easy, it takes work.

When you look a child in the eye and say “I Love You”, that counts more than a million texts.

That’s what I want to show in my books.

Stay strong, write on, and you can’t say I love you too many times.
Professor Hyram Voltage

Mid year day, loneliness, disappointment, and change.

It’s the middle of the year and many authors are talking about the progress they’ve made towards their goals. You can’t get away from podcasts about how the successful authors are killing it this year. The ones that failed to meet their goals don’t brag about their failures, despite horrific reasons they were blocked from reaching their goals.

Last week, a friend had a stroke. I didn’t need that. Another good person impacted.

Side note, I like to take photographs. I’m don’t take very good photos. I want to get better. So I bought a couple of books (five old, used, Kodak books, two new ones and a course on photography). Then I went on the Internet. What a time sink. Good information if you can squeeze it out.

I started watching a podcasts. It’s an hour and a half time sink, but I get a couple of things I can use or that are at least interesting out of each broadcast. Well I did. Then the podcast degenerated into more and more rants. If I want rants the are several new programs I could watch or listen to.

Now there are accusations of misconduct by photographers towards models.

I’m not getting any educational value out of the podcasts that apply to photographing people at steampunk events. I have decided to cancel my Patreon subscriptions to the podcasts. They won’t miss my small contribution. I will have more time to write. It’s just my photography will not be getting better.

It’s lonely being a writer. To socialize I joined to a good sized photography club. Members of the club win awards for their pictures. Still, many of them are into landscape photos and other types that are not what I do. I may drop out of the club.

I’m down, but I will get over it. My friend will never be the same.

I’m writing, but my heart is not into it. It will get better. He will get better, but he will never be the same.

There was a 7.2 earthquake north of here. I felt it. It was strong here but didn’t knock anything off the shelves. I was in an 7.0 earthquake years ago. It was only 20 miles from my childhood home where I was living. Splashed water out of the bathtub. I know what it’s like to be in a big earthquake. Rock on, gets a whole new meaning when the house gets up and moves.

Stay strong, write on, and go with the flow. It hurts to give up. It hurts to admit that you made a wrong decision. Sometimes life hurts.

Professor Hyram Voltage