Friday, June 28, 2013

5 on a Friday

OK, those of you who know me, who really know me well, know how often I write things that would be construed as a 'positive' post. So, with that in mind I'm about to shock you and tackle something difficult for me. I'm going to steal from AlleyCat the idea of posting 5 things I'm grateful for or glad about this week. Let's see if I can even do it.

1. I biked today and I didn't die - To be more specific, I biked right past where people keep seeing the bobcats and I didn't get killed by them. I didn't even see them. And I had to bike by there again on the way back home, so that made twice today that I didn't die. Add to that the fact that I biked during a heat advisory which kept buzzing my stupid cell phone all day to warn me that it is really hot outside and still I didn't die despite the heat, despite the fact that the air felt like it came out of a furnace and was super thin and hard to breathe and this is really not entirely a joke. I am grateful that I didn't die, specifically today. It would suck to die on the side of the road in the scorching heat while a family of bobcats tore me to shreds. I'm so glad that didn't happen. Because it did happen to an unlucky skunk I passed and it made me think twice about turning around and going home when I saw the skunk parts thrown all over the place where something had ripped it apart and left the bones and fur on the steaming asphalt. That was no car that did that.

2. My air conditioning works - guess what always happens in the midst of a heat advisory? For one reason or another, either the power goes out across half the city, or else someone's air conditioning unit bites the dust. This week it was one of my neighbors. But it wasn't me. And even more than that, the air in my car is working fine, too. You might be thinking "why is that even an issue?" But that's only because you don't know my cars. I have a few. Most are really old. Most have had their air conditioners replaced already and it costs over $1000 each time. Once the factory air has been replaced it is never the same again. It never lasts as long the second time around and then you have to do it again if the car is still running and belongs to you. I am not in a position to replace any air conditioners right now. And it's too hot not to have air. So thank God I still have it.

3. I have my health,  such as it is - several people very close to me have experienced increasingly serious health issues these past few years. With each of them we all assumed whatever was wrong would be properly diagnosed and resolved fairly quickly, but it didn't happen that way. I was even told recently that my brother's wife may die, although I know very little about the details. I've got some health issues that are giving me cause for concern, or be annoyed, but nothing that threatens to kill me just now.

4. I have most of the things I want - When I say things, I mean literally things. There are certain goals I have for my life that I don't have, but as far as things go, objects that is, I have most of the things that I want. I don't have the exact guitar that I want, but I have a guitar that does what I need just fine. I don't have a brand new computer,  but I have one that works. I have more books to read than I can find shelf space for. I have my long desired digital SLR camera. This house is pretty much exactly what we need. Etc. I thought of this because I had a neighbor move away recently who had so few things left after her divorce that she was able to move with little more than a few pickup truck and trailer loads of furniture and not much else. There was no moving truck required. And she has 2 kids. That's not much stuff. I knew things were probably a little tight for her, but I had no idea that her house was basically empty for these past 2 or 3 years while they lived there trying to sell the house. My stuff isn't the best of the best, but it's good enough. I can't think of any 'thing' that I need desperately and don't have.

5.  I live in America - There are only a handful of places that I would ever want to live - America, Australia, Canada - but a great many places I would most definitely NOT want to live. America has its problems, to be sure, and they just seem to keep growing worse. But even so, we are not nearly as bad off as most of the world in terms of suffering under a totally oppressive regime, experiencing extreme poverty and hunger, or being ravaged with diseases and plagues. There are some truly horrific places to live in this world, mostly due to rampant corruption. The United States obviously has its share of corrupt officials in high places. But we don't have corruption at every single level, among every single leader and official, to such an extent that it is simply accepted and done openly. In many countries you can't live from day-to-day without being forced to bribe various officials and police around you in order to get them to leave you alone and let you live your life. Prosperity is virtually unheard of in those places. Even their corrupt leaders have to fly to rotten places like Cuba for health care when they are sick because their own extreme corruption has destroyed the medical practices of their own country. We are fast approaching this level of corruption in America, but we still have a way to go yet before we're a straight up third world hell.

So anyway, that's what I'm grateful for this week. I hope you have a great weekend and have at least 5 things  in your life that you can be thankful for.

I'm grateful that this isn't my car

Friday, June 21, 2013

Holy Bobcats, Batman!

OK, so it's been over a week since I blogged, if I remember correctly. In that time there has been some chaos, but I don't want to blog about most of it. The main thing, since this seems to be my fitness blog as much as anything, and I'm not really sure how that happened since it wasn't my intent, but I haven't been able to run or walk all week. Partly it is because I've been out of town. Partly it is because of my injured calf not being healed enough for a good solid run. And partly it is because of certain wild animals currently roaming our neighborhood.

We have a family of bobcats living near my house.

I wanted to put that previous statement in a line all by itself so you could think about it for a second as your eyes scanned down to the next sentence. Yes, bobcats.

I was talking to my neighbors the other day about how unhappy we are that some douchemonkey bought a 10 acre plot of land around the corner from my street and just leveled the trees, leaving behind broken, ruined trees and a big mud hole full of water and mosquitoes. It's been that way for over 6 months with absolutely nothing more being done with this land. It looks like a tornado armed with a chainsaw ripped through a single 10 acre stretch of land and destroyed everything on it. But it wasn't a tornado. It was a douchebag. And I know he destroyed all 10 acres despite it now being an uncrossable mudhole/swamp thanks to him because I can see it on satellite view courtesy of our all-seeing, perpetually watching, electronically spying government. This issue has me more than a little irritated. So I mentioned it to our neighbors while we were sitting on their back patio.  And this is how my neighbor responded:

Hello, we're new to the neighborhood ...

"There is a family of bobcats over there now, too. I've seen them twice. In broad daylight. I've seen them running across the road there, with three babies."

I took a keen interest in this for self-preservation reasons. "Um, across the road where? Where the trees are leveled, right where I go running every day?"

"Yep. I'd carry something with you in case you encounter them if I were you."

Oh, so awesome. What shall I carry? A camera perhaps? It'd make an awesome photo, wouldn't it?

"Here's a great shot of 4 bobcats that I took right before I was mauled by the big one. Isn't she pretty? Look how big her paws are. Those claws are razor sharp, too, believe me."

How about a gun? If you're a runner then I'm sure you can imagine how annoying it would be having a heavy steel gun banging against you as you jog along. It'd beat you to death.

One person suggested I wear a shoulder holster. That way the gun could beat my ribs instead of my groin like a fanny pack would do. I'm all for choosing to sacrifice ribs over groin, especially since its impossible to stand, let alone run, after being hit in the groin. But I'd really prefer not to get either ribs or groin pounded by a metal object while running. And carrying it in my hand isn't a good idea either, especially out here in the country where people might mistake me for a man running with gun in hand for some evil reason and decide to apprehend me. Country people are doers and they'll take matters into their own hands if they think the situation calls for it.

Imagine driving down a country road in your big Dodge Ram pickup truck when you come upon a man in running shorts and a sweaty shirt, all red faced, running down the side of the road with a gun in his hand. You'd consider hitting him and then calling the police, wouldn't you? Maybe he's running because of something bad he did? The idea that he might be running from a family of bobcats probably wouldn't be the first thought to enter your mind.

So, someone else mentioned pepper spray. All of my canisters of pepper spray are older than dirt. So I may have to make a trip to the store and see if I can find a brand new can of it that is big enough to make me feel safe running with bobcats, but small enough to still be carry-able while running. I hope so because I can't really think of anything else that would work. Everyone I talked to seems to feel expert enough on the subject of what works to fend off a wild bobcat that they all agree on pepper spray. I just wonder how the  heck they know this?