Leap Day

Image: NASA/Public Domain

If you’ve been hanging out anywhere near a calendar, a Gregorian calendar that is, then you’re well aware that 2012 is a Leap Year, and that today, February 29, is a Leap Day. Not wanting to miss the opportunity to post on Leap Day, knowing that this would be my only shot for another 4 years to do so, I woke early to begin my research.

Since Leap Day is an Astronomical event I decided to first go right to an expert in this field, the amazingly clever and brilliant Phil Plait over at Bad Astronomy. Plait begins his explanation of Leap Year by telling us that we have two basic units of time: the day and the year. He explains that of the measurements we use daily, these are the only two based on concrete physical events: the time it takes for the Earth to spin once on its axis, and the time it takes to go around the Sun. Okay Phil, so far I’m with you. He then goes into detail concerning the mathematics involved. It’s at this point my eyes roll back into my head, my brain goes into overload, and I retreat to the kitchen for another cup of coffee. Math is not fun, especially for those of us who do not get it. I’m convinced it’s not even fun for those who DO get it. They only say it’s fun to further piss off and frustrate those of us who don’t get it. I base my evidence of this from having dated a physicist who would occasionally talk in his sleep concerning such matters. However, if you’re into math, or want to be completely amused while being schooled in all things Astronomical, I strongly suggest a visit to Bad Astronomy.

Not being one to allow something silly such as math to deter me of my enjoyment of weird things, I continued my research into to this bissextile event. One weird thing I learned is that there is actually a Leap Year Cocktail, no kidding. It was invented at London’s Savoy Hotel and contains 2 ounces gin, ½ ounce Grand Marnier, ½ ounce sweet vermouth, and ½ ounce fresh lemon juice. Not being a gin fan, I’m thinking this would probably be tasty if one were to substitute the gin with vodka, and it’s definitely giving me ideas for my later Leap Night festivities. I should point out that if you’re born on Leap Day and 2012 is the year you become of legal drinking age…no Leap Year Cocktail for you! Well, not until after midnight. Sorry, but most states do not consider you ‘legal’ until March 1st. However, since you were born on Leap Day, which is known as a ‘Leapster’, I’m sure you’re use to being unfairly discriminated against by only receiving birthday gifts once every 4 years. You’ll learn to appreciate this whole ‘only having a birthday once every 4 years’ as you get older and realize that birthdays are about as welcome as visits from distant relatives….in which case, once every 4 years is plenty. Also, having to wait till midnight for a drink is not nearly as bad as if you were in jail on this day. Really?! An extra day?!

Another fun fact about Leap Day is that it’s the one day when it’s, traditionally, socially acceptable for a woman to pop the question to a man. While this is somewhat outdated and may be considered a bit sexist, to anyone anal enough to think it so, it IS still fun. I only offer this as a heads-up to any single guys out there. If Joan at the office has been giving you the eye lately, maybe today is the day to call out sick. *cough, cough*

A not-so-fun Leap Day fact, on this particular Leap Day, 56 countries are recognizing today as Rare Disease Day. Are these diseases so rare they only require one day of research every 4 years? I’ll leave you to write your own witty response to this not-so-fun fact….

However you enjoy your Leap Day, remember the count down starts again tomorrow…and according to Phil Plait, you remember Phil, Mr Math from Bad Astronomy, we have 1461 days till we get another one. This is, of course, unless we get wiped out by the Scary-Freaking-Asteroid later this year. This, however, is a theory, I’m certain, Phil does not subscribe to.

Green and Red on a Grey San Antonio Day

Not feeling well over the past several days (a mid case of flu), and being indoors for what seems like forever, I found myself getting a bit stir-crazy earlier this afternoon…and I decided on a walk. My room-mate had warned me that this neighborhood was a bit like a black hole…meaning once in, it’s nearly impossible to find one’s way back out. He, I learned, is correct. I did manage to get a bit lost….luckily I had my camera with me!

Oriental Poppy

Oriental Poppy

Oriental Poppy

Mailbox Lighthouse…to help postal carriers from crashing into the rocks…

Palm An A Cloudy San Antonio Day

Red Fire Hydrant

Squirrel…doing that cute thing all squirrels do…oh yeah, it’s called ‘eating’.

San Antonio Prickly Pear Cactus

San Antonio Prickly Pear Cactus – think ‘toothpicks’!

Hole In One

Ball Washer – (Insert Joke Of Your Choice Here)

Playing Through….

POTD – Rainbow Lorikeet

Rainbow Lorikeet in Flowering Gum Tree – Alex Autin

Happy Mardi Gras!

Happy Mardi Gras (photo credit Mardi Gras World, NOLA)

I LOVE Mardi Gras! To the rest of the world today is Tuesday…down in New Orleans it’s Fat Tuesday…Mardi Gras Day! It’s the one day of the year when I get ‘homesick’.  This year it also serves to remind me that I haven’t been ‘home’ in 6 years, and my last Mardi Gras was the one immediately following hurricane Katrina. Since Mardi Gras is a completely free party estimating attendance is particularly difficult. The success of a Carnival Season is based on how much garbage is picked up in the streets. The trash is stored on a barge floating on the Mississippi River, then after Mardi Gras it’s weighed. (Roughly about 8,000 tons of trash.) Pre-Katrina attendance was usually estimated right around 1 million. (Yes, 1 million! Can you imagine throwing a party and having a million people turn up?!) Post Katrina attendance is quickly catching up to this number with estimates ranging between 750,000 to 850,000….still a shit-load of people!

A check of the weather today in New Orleans shows it’s partly cloudy with a high of 73 degrees. The weather is irrelevant though, the party would go on, and has gone on, regardless. To those of you who’ve been I don’t need to explain what happens to the city at this time of year…to those of you who haven’t been, well…there is no explaining. From The French Quarter where the party on Bourbon Street never stops, to up-town where Zulu, Rex, and the truck parades will roll today along St. Charles Avenue….to out in the small Cajun towns like Eunice and Mamou it’s Carnival time!

And if you’re wondering what’s going on today in the more traditional celebrations of  small town Louisiana…check these out! To me this is FAR more interesting!

HAPPY MARDI GRAS!!!!!

POTD – Alamo Courtyard

Alamo Courtyard, San Antonio, Texas – Alex Autin

POTD – Bunker Window – Cape Pallarenda

Cape Pallarenda from WW II Gun Encampment 2, Cape Pallarenda-Coral Sea, QLD, Australia – Alex Autin

Stalker Songs

I LOVE…..Stalker Songs! With the sweet taste of Valentine’s Day still in our mouths, and my sympathies to any guys out there who didn’t quite spend enough on balloons, chocolate, and flowers to completely validate their honey’s fragile egos, lets now turn our attention to the darker, and far more interesting, side of love…..obsession. Particularly, the Stalker Song….

The Stalker Song comes in a couple of forms. It may be a song which on first listen seems like a sweet ode and exclamation of undying love and admiration…’undying’ being the key word. Or it could be just flat out creepy, no matter how many times one listens to it.

My first Stalker Song selection is a song which has….well, special meaning in my heart. I once came home to find a seemingly blank music CD tacked to my door…yes, a large tack placed through the hole in the CD and then driven into my door. Strange enough on its own, yes? However under the CD was also tacked a black and white photo of….me. The pic had been taken, without my knowledge, at an outdoor music festival I had attended the previous weekend. It was not a crowd shot, but a close up of me….at the festival…in black and white. There was no note or anything written on the CD. Creepy? Well….kinda, yes. There was only one song on the CD….and this was it….

My first thought, as I’m sure would be anyone’s, was…..’Fuck, Kim Deal plays the HELL out of that bass!’ And no, I never found out who this person was, obviously he lost interest shortly thereafter….or, as a friend suggested, I possibly started dating him without realizing him to be the ‘Door CD Tacker’. Whoever he was…he had GREAT taste in music (not to mention women!), and was a damn fine photographer.

My second Stalker Song selection comes from one of my favorite songwriters of all times, Elvis Costello. No one quite spits out the bitterness of cold, unrequited love as eloquently and venomously as Costello. This song actually causes the hairs on the back of my neck to stand up. It’s cool, creepy, chilling and completely delicious.

My third Stalker Song selection is Don’t Say A Word by Sonata Arctica. Yes, it’s quite long, and yes, it’s also quite demented and disturbing….and yes, I do now feel I need a shower….

This post was unintentionally inspired by a comment made by sinnercycling on my Happy Valentine’s Day post of yesterday…who I’m quite sure is thrilled with being linked to Stalker Songs. Great blog though…cycling, sinning, skiing…check it out!

POTD – Bunker Window

WW II Bunker Window 4, inside looking out, 7am, Charters Towers, Queensland – Alex Autin

Liebster-Yaynus

At some point yesterday I received another nomination for The Liebster Blog Award. This nomination came, quite unexpectedly, from a wonderful blogger who, again unlike me, actually put some consideration into the title of her blog. onelifethislife is a celebration, through words and photography, of the importance of accepting this one life we all have and living it to the fullest. I can certainly agree with that! I also, certainly (and sincerely), wish to thank onelifethislife for the mention, congratulate her on the recognition of her work, and hope much continued success! You are very much appreciated.

Also, at some point yesterday, I was mentioned in regards to yet another Blog Award, this being the highly esteemed and prestigious Glitter E. Yaynus Award….or as I consider it…The Oh, For Fuck’s Sake! Award. This rather dubious mention came to me via El Guapo over at Guapola/The Asylum Within The Asylum. And Music! (3 links to you Guapo, so stfu!) While I do gratefully thank Guapo (4!) for this mention, I’ve yet to decide if I will in any way touch it or anything associated with it. The only reason I’m even mentioning it at this point, I mean other than the obvious reason of drawing attention to myself, is that I wanted to post the award on my blog. As to whether I’ll ever write a clever and witty acceptance of this award remains to be seen.

And speaking of witty and clever…if you haven’t as yet please do check out Guapo’s blog (5 links!) just be sure to thoroughly sanitize your hands after doing so. If you hurry you can join in on his Friday Foolishness – Valentine’s Edition (6!!) which is just getting under way over at…..you know… Guapola/The Asylum Within The Asylum. And Music! (7!)

The Liebster Blog Award

Earlier this week I opened my in-box to learn I had been nominated for The Liebster Blog Award. While thrilled with the nomination I then waited to learn if I had actually won. I’ve seen award programs before, in every case there is a handful of nominees which are then narrowed down to one actual winner. Apparently this is not the case in regards to this particular award. (Also, apparently there is no cash prize associated with it either. Wtf?!)

My nomination was presented to me by Colline who is a wonderful writer/photographer (not to mention a very fine human being!) and who has been schooling me in how this blogging thing works. Her blog is titled Colline’s Blog, and I applauded her for being wise enough to not saddle herself in by titling it something completely absurd such as Things I Love (Things I Love? Really?! How freaking creative…)

So, what exactly is this Liebster Blog Award anyway? Well, I’m about to tell you. Liebster is German for ‘dearest’. In the blogosphere, this translates to ‘I like you, I really, really like you’. (And we all know how much we all want to be LIKED!) The award is presented to new bloggers with fewer than 200 followers in appreciation of their work and also in encouragement that they should continue this work.

As with any award…THERE ARE RULES, and they are as follows, so listen up:

1 – Thank the fellow blogger who nominated you. (Thank you Colline, you are DEFINAELY appreciated!)

2 – Link back to the person who awarded you. (BAM! —> Colline’s Blog)

3 – List five blogs that have affected your writing in a positive manner. (This will, without question, lead to much sadistic pleasure on my part!)

4 – Leave comments on those blogs to let them know of their nominations. (Oh, I certainly will…)

5 – Post the award on your blog. (I‘m assuming this final bit to be optional, however one should refer to the official Liebster Award Guide Book and certainly not take my word for it.)

Now, without further ado, my nominations… (These are listed in no particular order. In actuality, I taped the names of my nominees to five mice, then released the mice in the same room with my room-mate’s cat allowing her to determine the order based on which mouse she tortured first, second, and so on. She completely lost interest after the first two mice at which point I placed a large box in the room with the name Schrödinger written on it. It was then that things got REALLY weird…. I should point out that taping pieces of paper to mice is totally humane, so not a word from PETA! Had I stapled the paper to the mice, then you could bitch.)

And the nominees are:

1 - Antonio Pinon – Antonio does not list stats on his blog such as number of followers (though something tells me he is, indeed, a man interested in statistics). I’ve no idea how many followers he has, nor do I particularly care. My affair with Antonio’s blog began innocently enough with meeting over my morning coffee. It then led to lunch, and most recently, dinner. He has quietly, eloquently, and thoroughly amazed me, awed me, and brought me to tears (though we’ve agreed not to mention this, my apologies). He is also kind enough to respond to my gushing comments. If you haven’t had your mind completely blown recently by the universe, the 10th dimension, how the brain works, planetary astronomy, or any number of other extremely interesting subjects, I highly recommend a visit to Antonio Pinion.

2 – She Kept A Parrot – Again another blog with no interest in posting popularity stats, and the only Photo Blog to make my list of nominations. I enjoy photo blogs, and there are many excellent ones, but rarely am I so amazed by not only the work, but also the courage behind the camera. This woman has not only talent, but also guts, charisma, intelligence, and a large serving of love-of-life. The introductions accompanying her work are as brilliant, as honest, and as engrossing as the work itself. I’ve a feeling this is a woman who has never faked a smile in her life, but yet has effortlessly garnered millions of them. Well done.

3 – God Is Not Here – This is Chris Lim’s blog in which he tackles the often-times controversial issues regarding Rationality versus Religion, a subject which I find extremely interesting. Chris is an outspoken, informed, and intelligent humanist, atheist, and anti-theist. He is a very talented and engaging writer, and he’s also a very friendly and approachable man. He even tolerates my ogling over Brad Pitt and Rafael Nadal in his comments section. I’ve no doubt Chris does not in any way need my encouragement in order to continue to do what he does. This, however, does not mean I’m letting him off the hook. Chris, consider yourself Liebster-ized.

4 – Eric Murtaugh – Eric is cool, and so is his blog. It’s my favorite adventure blog. I was quite shocked to find he had less than 200 followers, but he’s getting there….so I’d better write quickly. Eric’s blog was one of the first I stumbled upon when I entered the world of wordpress. It was an instant favorite, and still is. Eric is a challenging man, and I adore people who push, inspire, and not only challenge themselves, but also challenge others. His writing is top notch, interesting and intelligent, and he’s not above getting silly. Reading his ‘About’ says it all….‘Plain and simple: I’m a sucker for adventure.’.

5 – Matthew Minas – Matthew is truly a new kid on the block when it comes to wordpress blogging. Matthew opens his ‘Me’ page by saying he ‘kind of likes pretty much everything’. (I could pass this nomination to him simply for not being silly enough to actually title his blog this…unlike someone else.) When first stumbling upon Matthew’s blog it took me only long enough to read his broad range of interests for me click ‘follow’. These interests include Philosophy, Physics, Cosmology, Writing, Science, Atheism, Science Fiction, Film, Music and I could go on and on. His posts are very well written, very well researched, and exciting as hell. And I can’t just read them once, I feel compelled to read them over and over.  If I were to ever meet Matthew I would probably engage him for hours just to hear him speak on some of the many interests we have in common. Instead I’ll tag him with this nomination along with my sincere wish that he continue to do what he does.

While my approach to this award may be a bit sarcastic, I hope the above mentioned bloggers will understand the sincerity in my nominations. This is my attempt to thank them for feeding my addiction to learning, truth, discovery, and exploration. As for how they respond to this nomination….that’s entirely up to them. They can play along with the chain letter, or they can dismiss it. I will not think, or feel, a damn thing either way.

(I should however point out that if they chose to break the chain it will undoubtedly result in the end of the universe. This is something which will highly piss off Stephen Hawking as he is clearly not finished with it as yet. This will also likely result in many cosmologists losing their funding and no one wants that kind of blood on their hands. At the very least breaking the chain could trigger an early 2012 Apocalypse thus denying the Mayan calendar folks, the Scary-Freakin-Asteroid folks, and the Terrestrial/Solar Pole Reversal folks their moment of glory…and our opportunity to properly stock up on toilet paper and bottled water. )

POTD – Frangipani

Frangipani – Alex Autin

I Love The French…or…

…why they will ALWAYS be sexier than us Americans.

This post was stolen from, I mean INSPIRED by, a recent post on I MADE YOU A MIXTAPE .  Check it out!!

POTD – Osyaka Windmill

The Aermotor – Osyaka, Mississippi, USA – Alex Autin

Weird…No, I Mean ‘Unusual’ Australian Wildlife (or…It Doesn’t Look Venomous To Me)

Photographic Evidence #1 – The Wallaby – Alex Autin

Me – “It doesn’t look venomous to me, gonna get a picture.”

Aussie Bloke – “Oi…I wouldn’t get too close!”

Me – “Why? Do you know what kind it is?”

Aussie Bloke – “Yeah, mate, its my least favorite kind.”

Me – “Really? What kind is that?”

Aussie Bloke – “The not-dead kind.”

*  * * *

Yep, the words…‘it doesn’t look venomous to me’ actually came out of my mouth and, no, it wasn’t in reference to The Wallaby, but rather in reference to a snake I had just suddenly come across in a car park. And just as with anything else I ‘suddenly’ come across…I am ‘suddenly’ an expert…THE Snake Specialist! I am not only fearless, I am also an authority on all things venomous. I am Venom Woman and I was having my very first Australian snake encounter! (Please see Photographic Evidence #2 – The Snake) I actually very nearly stepped on this snake, but it wasn’t my fault! The snake was hanging out in a very non-snake-like location; the car park behind the Rock Pool. (A car park is a ‘parking lot’ to us American types.)

Photographic Evidence #2 – The Snake – Alex Autin

I managed to whip out my Nikon camera in time to snap a pic before the snake slithered away. (At this point I think it important to make clear that I ADORE Nikon cameras, always carry a Nikon camera with me in my travels and would swear on my mother’s collection of whimsical ceramic hummingbird figurines that Nikon cameras are the best in the world!)

Checking the photo I was instantly delighted by the out-of-focus, fuzzy quality to it. As Mitch Hedberg pointed out, ALL photos of fantastical creatures are in fact blurry and out-of-focus. See any picture of Big Foot, Sasquatch, The Loch Ness Monster, or The Abominable Snowman if you have any doubt. These creatures are, in actuality, fuzzy. It is not the photographer’s fault (and certainly not the fault of Nikon cameras!). If you’re ever in the woods and come across a fuzzy creature….RUN!

Though I AM a snake specialist, I did feel the need to get a second opinion on my car park snake. So I shared the photo with my friend Ben, down in Melbourne, because he’s awfully hot…I mean nice, he’s awfully NICE…and yep, he’s also really fun to share with. No, he’s not an ophiologist or a herpetologist, but he IS a photographer and a bartender, and damn good at both from what I understand. Furthermore, he’s been to the Out Back….more than once, so yeah…snake expert. I also imagine he would sound really Australian saying the word ‘herpetologist’! (I should, in addition, point out that I’m fairly certain Ben also uses Nikon cameras.)

Melbourne Ben – “Hmmm, might be a taipan.”

Me – “So, taipan it is then.”

Melbourne Ben – “…….maybe. I’m not sure. Kinda looks like one.”

Me – “So, yeah……taipan.”

Melbourne Ben – “Hard to say, the pic’s a lil bit fuzzy.”

Me – “Well, yeah!”

Melbourne Ben – “Were you using a Nikon camera?”

Me – “……..of course.”

Melbourne Ben – “Hmmm.”

Now for you Steve Erwin fans, the taipan is what he referred to as the Fierce Snake.

The Taipan : (It helps to read the following description using an Aussie accent, preferably Victorian.)  Australia has 30 different kinds of venomous snakes. The largest and most poisonous of them is the taipan. Taipans eat rats and hang in car parks.

CRIKEY!!!! Now with that rather unpleasant, though not completely uncool, taste in our mouths, I think I should quickly direct our attention to Photographic Evidence No. 3 – The Possum.

Photographic Evidence No. 3 – The Possum – Alex Autin

While the sight of the (possible) taipan caused me to (naturally!!) draw nearer to it, the initial sighting of the possum caused me to – well – scream, and not at all un-little-girl-like. I’m sure, given the time of night, most neighbors were thinking the sound to be that of a Bush-stone Curlew. (See Photographic Evidence No. 4 – The Bush-stone Curlew, aka The Screaming Woman Bird.)

Photographic Evidence No. 4 – The Bush-stone Curlew, aka The Screaming Woman Bird – Alex Autin

It was nearly 10 pm and I was in the home of the wonderful and awesomely cool North Queensland family I was staying with. The boys, Jack(10) and Dillon(7), and I were playing video games and Jessica (13) was in her room being a 13 year old girl and having no interest what so ever in video games. Dillon, being more of a morning gamer, had fallen asleep, while Jack, being damn hardcore, was killing everything in sight. I, being a somewhat responsible adult, was remembering washing which needed to be hung out on the line. And, yes, before you ask, any time it is NOT raining in North Queensland during the ‘Wet’ is a good time to put clothes on the line. I was nearly finished and reaching down for the last piece to hang……….when there at my feet……and I mean RIGHT AT MY FEET…….was this large furry ‘thing’! (Please note, the ‘thing’ was furry, but not fuzzy, so I know immediately it is non life-threatening. This, however, does not stop me from screaming.)

Ok, where am I? Oh yep……screaming…….

I’m screaming and I jump back. In my defense I did not immediately identify this thing to be a possum. I seriously thought it to be a rat. A very, VERY, large rat. (Though I had never seen a rat there, apparently they are found in car parks else taipans would not be hanging there.) This ‘thing’ was not small, it was easily the size of a cat, a good size cat!

To make complete my freaked-out-ness…..as I backed away…….it advanced! It seemed to be sniffing my feet – closely, intently. This, I’ll admit, was making me very nervous. I then realized it was backing me further and further away from the house. Then with agility previously unbeknown to me, with the grace and swiftness of a gazelle (one that’s been targeted, separated from the herd, and facing certain death) I leapt over the furry creature and race towards the open back door. The possum followed – quickly. I shot across the utility area and into the boys bedroom, “Jack, come see this!”

“Whoa!” Jack stepped out of the back door. “It’s a possum!”

Me, looking cool – “Yeah…I…..I know that.”

Jack – “Back away! That thing will bite you and…..and scratch you.”

Me – “Nah, it’s alright. Ummm, it doesn’t look venomous to me.”

This made absolutely no sense, however it HAD worked for me once before. I was extremely cool at this point as the possum, having found a much more preferable target, was now following Jack.

Jack – “It’s after my feet!”

Me – “Oh wow, it’s so cute!”

Jack – “What do we do?”

Me – “Lets feed it!”

Jack – “Hell, yeah!”

Jack raced around to open the kitchen door and we were thinking……now, what would a possum like to eat…..

Me and Jack – “Chocolate cake!!”

Three pieces of chocolate cake later and the possum was still into it. Jack and I, at this point, felt certain we’d hit on it’s natural and proper nutritional diet! If not for the lateness of the hour we could have rang Ben in Melbourne to verify this, but the cake felt right and we went with it. At some point Jess, hearing the ruckus, came from her room and joined in the fun. We tried to wake Dillon but not even a marsupial hopped up on chocolate cake was match for the child’s X Box induced coma.

By this time the possum had climbed it’s way up to the top of the clothes line post, and was in no hurry to leave. It held out it’s little paws as if pleading (or jonesing)….

The Possum – “Oi, what else ya got?” (The possum was obviously a Queenslander, and possibly sporting a mullet.)

It’s big shiny eyes were now on nearly the same level as ours, only a bit higher. If it were planning to launch into an aerial attack, it was now in perfect position. It was then Jess who thought of feeding it an orange. I’m sure given the time Jack and I would have come up with that, but in the excitement of the moment the chocolate cake definitely seemed the go. Once rendered passive by the combination of highly refined table sugar and carbohydrates the possum agreed to be photographed. Don’t be put off by the pic, the possum is actually MUCH cuter than it appears. (The poor quality of the photo is to be blamed entire upon the photographer and not at all the fault of Nikon cameras….)

Thanks to Mitch Hedberg and Steve Erwin for their posthumous assistance in writing this piece, and also thanks to Ben in Melbourne for being extremely cool and stuff!

Moving Day (Or….how my boots let me down!)

I LOVE…Moving! Moving is always exciting….leaving one place and going someplace new with new experiences, new neighbors, new options. Moving, for some, can also be a pain involving boxes, hiring a truck, and having to bribe a few friends with promises of beer if they come over and help you place said boxes into the back of said truck. This is usually not too bad. It’s when you ask them to also move a refrigerator, heavy furniture, and a washer and dryer that things get a little tricky. This usually requires LOTS of beer….especially if this move is taking place in the hottest part of the summer or the coldest part of the winter.

Yesterday was moving day for me. It was not a major long distance move, just from one part of San Antonio to across town, from one room-mate to another.  Goodbye Deco District, hello Northeast Side! For me a move is not all that traumatic or stressful. I not only ‘travel light’, I also ‘live light’. All that was required was to throw my things into my pack, slip my laptop into it’s shoulder bag…and I was ready to go. No beer necessary….though its ALWAYS optional! I did have a bit of shock when loading my back pack….way too much stuff. It’s amazing how in just a few months of being in one location I can manage to collect things….little things like a few extra clothes, a new pair of flip-flops, extra-large industrial sized bottle of shampoo. (Really?! Does it need to be that freaking large?!) Not to mention 6 library books. No matter….somehow it ALL HAS TO FIT IN THE BACKPACK!

My friend BJ offered to help me move. In my case ‘helping me move’ pretty much involves only giving me a ride from point A to point B. While waiting for BJ to arrive I received a text from him….. ‘Feel like a hike?’ Now, most people would not even consider an impromptu hike right in the middle of  ‘moving day’. To me, however, it sounded like fun. I should also mention that BJ has been known to take me to some pretty incredible locations….places I would never find without him…and I NEVER ask him where we’re going…I just jump in and go knowing it’ll be awesome. I also know that anytime when out with BJ there will be a moment when something ‘extreme’ will take place and I’ll be required to do something physically challenging. I tease him about this, and when that inevitable moment arrives and I’m forced to jump something, or climb over something, or crawl through something….I usually say to him….. ‘And THIS is why I don’t trust you!’

Yesterday was no exception, and I should have known right away. After receiving his text and replying that yes a hike would be awesome, he replied…. ‘It’ll be muddy…’ We’ve been getting an unusual amount of rain here in San Antonio. So I asked how muddy? His reply…. ‘Mucho muddy!’

We got to the location about 4 in the afternoon, and as he promised it was muddy….MUCHO! But as usual with BJ, it was awesome. He had been telling me about this place and how cool it is, so I was happy to be finally checking it out. As we hiked further and further in, and as the mud got heavier and heavier, he began to point out the places up on the top of the rock wall to our right where climbers had sunk their anchors for rock climbing. Very cool!

Then it happened, the ‘this is why I don’t trust you!’ moment. He stops and without saying anything starts to climb the wall. Next thing I know he’s at the top looking down at me. My only thought was ‘You’re shitting me, right?’ No, he wasn’t shitting me. He fully expected me to climb up after him…and it didn’t help that he made it look so freaking easy! But here’s the thing….I actually felt fear. I was afraid to climb the damn wall. In my defense my boots were incredibly muddy and the rock was wet and slippery. But, damn, that fear was not sitting well with me. I made my first attempt, and failed. I knew I only failed because of the fear….I’ve climbed before, and can climb, and I am 100% physically capable of climbing that wall. It was all about the fear of slipping and falling. And it was also about the fucking boots, I didn’t trust them. Finally I made a decision….I took off the damn boots. In my socks I then faced the wall and climbed it with no problem, no fear, no hesitation. My only regret was reaching the top and realizing that my camera was in my pack in the back of BJ’s vehicle…..so I’ve no photographic evidence of this!

Oh, yeah….as for my Moving Day…I arrived at my new home around 8pm, covered in mud, scratched and bruised, but happy. I found my new room-mate out back grilling sausages by the pool. He said nothing at all about my appearance, all he DID say was… ‘Hey Alex! Hope you’re hungry!’

I think I’m gonna like it here….