Sunday, February 9, 2020

Don't Look Back Look Back Look Back

Full Moon

It was almost exactly one year ago when I jammed my knee rather drastically while slipping on ice in a bouldery Arizona canyon. I figured that a little rest would return everything to normal in the creaky inner workings of said knee. Well, not really, but I have successfully deceived myself thus far into taking the position that I don't need to see a doctor and some day everything will be magically healed. The fake-ass power of positive thinking! Also, one day I shall win Lotto.


I would absolutely love to go back to where I left off on the AZT and ramble for a month or two, but so far, I have resisted that notion and I am focused on my 2020 in 2020 Challenge. It's going well, which is dangerous because it makes me think I can do more...geez!


Just like I knew I would, I am getting Spring Fever way early this year. The sunny, shorts-and-tee-shirt, afternoon weather here is making me frisky every day, right up until the Sun goes down and the temperature plummets to near freezing. That cools my fever in a hurry - just stick with the day hikes, Jim. And don't look back look back look back.


Peace, Love, and the Present Fantasy,
Jim

Sunday, February 2, 2020

2020 in 2020 Update

Waxing Gibbous Moon

As of the end of January, I was right on schedule for my 2020 in 2020 Challenge with 172 miles in 31 days. I hope you are, too, if you decided to participate. I am finding it to be fun, not too strenuous, and only moderately time-consuming. What is working for me so far is to mix up my routes and do hillier walks on dirt trails in between days of flatter asphalt road walks. I take a lot of pictures with my phone, mostly to keep my mind from wandering too much. Staying in the present is a good hobby.

I can tell that a wider variety, i.e. more changes of scenery, will be necessary to keep the project interesting. However, I also challenged myself to spending only fifty dollars a month on gas this year, so that kind of restricts the number of trips to the mountains and the beach. This year reeks of self-discipline!

Instead of watching the Super Bowl today, I hiked part of the sunny, breezy, and cool afternoon on the Juan Bautista De Anza National Historical Trail a short distance from my camp. From the trail head to the trail crest is 2.7 miles with a pretty decent elevation gain, so round trip is right where I need to be for a daily walk. The Pampas grass (non-native) looks pretty cool on days like this one.



There were only a few other hikers out there, making it Super Silent Sunday, which brought out more animals. I saw one bushy-tailed coyote and seven Cooper's hawks on the way up. The way down was rudely interrupted by two vaqueros on horseback playing oompa music over some very loud speakers while drinking cans of Modelo. Whaaat? So much for the wildlife sightings.

Anyway, the consistent, moderate walking is probably good for me and not that hard on my bum knee. Once the weather warms up, I might mix in some bicycle rides, too, to provide some needed variety. This Exercise Equivalent Chart from the University of Maryland Extension might come in handy if you want to "cross train" 2020 in 2020.

Exercise Equivalents

Walking, stroll (2 mph) 30 minutes = 1 mile
Walking, typical pace (3 mph) 30 minutes = 1.5 miles
Walking, brisk (4 mph) 30 minutes = 2 miles
Running (5.5 mph) 1 mile = 1 mile
Cycling/Biking (13 mph) 7 miles = 1 mile
Spinning 30 minutes = 2 miles
Aerobics (moderate intensity) 30 minutes = 1 mile
Stairmaster (moderate intensity) 15 minutes = 1 mile
Roller Blading 3 miles = 1 mile
Swimming (30 yards/min) 1 mile = 1 mile
Gardening, digging 30 minutes = 2.5 miles
Gardening, push mowing 30 minutes = 2.25 miles
Gardening, raking 30 minutes = 1 mile
Gardening, planting 30 minutes = 1.5 miles
Dancing, moderate to rapid 20 minutes = 1 mile
Any activity/exercise that makes you breathe hard and sweat. 20 minutes = 1 mile
Any activity/exercise that makes you breathe very hard and perspire heavily. 15 minutes = 1 mile


Peace, Love, Play Hard, and Have Fun,
Jim


Saturday, February 1, 2020

Super Bowl Alternatives

First Quarter Moon

There are better ways to spend a Sunday than to wrap yourself in The Flag, memorize commercials, agonize over instant replays, and bloat your belly with junk food/alcohol. You could actually think for yourself. You could do what is best for your own self-interest. You could bike your favorite bike trail. Or hike at the nearest National or State Park. Or hit the beach with the kids. Or crochet something cute for your nieces. You could ski.

Or...you could immerse yourself in what is indisputably the greatest B movie series in cinematic history - you could binge watch all six of the Tremors movies. Not only will you be thoroughly (down to the cellular level) entertained, educated, and stimulated, you will prepare yourself for the imminent release of Tremors 7, slithering, stomping, and plowing soon toward (obscure) theaters near you.

Big Plus: there are gratuitous references to geology, geologists, and paleontology.

Listen, you can keep your Star Wars and Star Trek and Batman movies. They are fundamentally flawed, dishonest B movies with giant budgets and kitschy gear promos. Tremors fans know truly, honestly, absurd-in-the-best-way, tongue-in-the-cheek, Heroic Cultural Parody when they see it. They know that Earl Bassett (Fred Ward) is a God/Legend and that Burt Gummer (Michael Gross) is the Powderfinger King of the Deplorables.

The one and only Fred Ward, RIP.

Michael Gross, postmodern praying-for-the-Apocalypse American hero. Whatever.
For your convenience and for your Sunday fun, in your own self-improvement best interests, I have compiled a preview list of trailers for each of the six previously released Tremors movies and (teaser warning) Tremors 7. The SciFi channel had a Tremors marathon two weekends ago. I pray you recorded them. BUT, I am sure you can find each movie with ease on the interwebs. AND/OR, if you become as humbled and devoted a fan as millions of the rest of us, you can purchase all of them online in DVD or Blue Ray, whatever the hell that is, from your friendly Zombizon botperson.

Prepare to fall in love. This will change your life and possibly eliminate that phony little ad-hook that leads you around by the holiday nose all the time. Welcome to Perfection.

Click on the franchise poster captions to view each trailer.

Tremors 1
Why Kevin Bacon got top billing on the above poster I will never understand. Fred Ward is the indomitable star.

Tremors 2: Aftershocks

Monday, January 20, 2020

How To Be Good

Waning Crescent Moon


Today is one of those days in America set aside for us to reflect on the life of a national hero. So here goes.

I think the young man in this photograph has it just right: "Dr. King was good." This kid is good, too. How did they get this way?

You may have heard the idea expressed in one form or another that children were not born hating other people, or something to that effect. They have to be taught to hate or to reject other people on the basis of a superficial difference. Kids will goof around with each other and have fun for hours as long as they don't get too banged up or bloody and even then, after a good cry and a band aid, they act like it never happened. That's because they are good. Inside, where their hearts are, they are good.

Somewhere along the line, kids get fed info, however well-intended (or not), like look, Junior, those other kids are not like you - they are bad, they will hurt you, you don't want to get hurt, do you? Keep away from those kids, keep away from kids who look like those kids, keep away from the kids who don't go to your school, keep away from the kids who don't go to our church, keep away from the kids who don't eat what you eat, keep away from the kids who don't talk like us, on and on and on. 

So some kids become less good, because they are taught to be less good. They are taught to ignore the place inside, where their hearts are, and to confuse being good with separating themselves from other kids. It's a slippery slope from there to hate.

Nobody is perfect. Dr. King wasn't. I sure am not. But the good kid in the picture is right. Dr. King was good. And I am sure, with all that he went through in standing up for the rights of all people, Dr. King had to work at it. There were probably many trying moments in his short life (39 years) when he despaired and wanted to give in to all the hate. But he was good. He knew he was good. All the way until the minute that hate drilled a bullet through him, he knew he was good and he believed that we are, too.

So how can we tell? How can we tell we are good? How can we believe we are good?

I can do it. I can set aside a little time every morning and sit where it is quiet. I can listen to my breath, listen to my heartbeat, listen to the stillness, and feel something stirring inside me, feel something glowing. It's the real me, untouched after all these years, coached by my loved ones, nourished by my heroes, but alive and beating before I met any of them. I am good. Hate can't touch this. I am good. 

I raise my  hands and I stretch my fingers to the sky. I feel that goodness shine. I send it out to everyone and everything. Rays for all. Oh my goodness, thank you, Martin, and thank you to all the children everywhere. 

Peace, Love, and Shine On,
Jim

Thursday, January 16, 2020

2020 in 2020 Challenge

Third Quarter Moon

In the spirit of self-improvement and capricious, willy-nilly New Year's decision making, I have decided to hike 2,020 miles in the year of Why Hast Thou Forsaken Us 2020. I am calling it my #2020in2020Challenge and inviting anyone who wants to join in to join in. There are no rules other than it has to be something healthy and you have to do it 2,020 times between now and the end of 2020. It could be hiking, in which case you have to average ~ 5.6 miles per day, or bicycling, or pushups, or handstands (be careful), etc. I assume no liability for your decisions. If problems arise, contact my crack legal team at Dewey, Cheatham, and Howe.



I believe my incredibly positive and very good friends Lisa and Nancy at Big Blend Radio (see side bar) intend to incorporate something similar into their new, burgeoning web creations, so if you need further inspiration, bookmark The Big Blend Community, sign up, and await their much more creative/ambitious version of this project.

Meanwhile, hiking everyday here on the Central Coast of Californ-eye-ay is pretty fun and will keep me out of trouble. I have been doing daily 5-6 mile hikes on the De Anza Trail, at Brigantino Park in Hollister, in and around San Juan Bautista, and at the beach since the first of the month - nothing extreme, just consistent and mildly challenging.


I highly recommend fueling day hikes with the Palomino snack of champions, the humble and cheap Peanut Butter and Banana Sammie. Power food. Con agua, por favor.


I have become somewhat obsessed with trees and clouds lately, but you are free to choose your own fixations, haha.



I realize that not everyone can go to the beach on a regular basis, so I will take the liberty of posting gorgeous scenes from Monterey Bay once in a while. You can always splash around in the bathtub or play in puddles.


Across the road from my camp there are farm roads that lead in all four directions. Most of the time, I can goof around and find a barn or an animal to go full on nature-boy-wahoo with. I am at my zenith point of happiness when I can do that. Your mileage may vary.




It's okay if you choose not to play in my #2020in2020Challenge thing, but whatever you do, enjoy yourself. You are not forsaken.

Peace, Love, and Happy Feet,
Jim

Friday, January 10, 2020

This Bleepin' Week

Full Moon

My head nearly exploded this week trying to understand exactly why Americans are putting up with what passes for leadership in this amateur hour White House. Lie after lie after lie. These people are living examples of the exact opposite values my parents, and probably yours, too, taught and modeled. Not to mention the engravings on those simple stone tablets described in the Book of Exodus. Please let this end soon.

Fort Ord Dunes State Park in Seaside, CA is a forty minute drive from my camp. I spent sacred time there the other day clearing my head and praying for peace. I don't know if it will do any good for the rest of the world, but for those precious minutes, I was closer to Creation and calmer in my heart.







Peace, Love, and Return to Sanity Soon,
Jim

Tuesday, December 31, 2019

2020 Visions

Waxing Crescent Moon

I'm not a big party person. I believe that people who stay up late on New Year's Eve making loud noises and killing brain cells are nuts. Lunatics crying for help. That said, I really enjoy getting up early on January 1 feeling obnoxiously happy and refreshed. So do your thing. I'll do mine.


I guess if you put stock in the notion that cosmic psychological revolutions occur when the wall calendar that your favorite non-profit mailed to you two Novembers ago runs out of wilderness photos or sad-eyed rescue dog portraits, you could make a resolution or two to escape entropy. Avocados, push ups, and planks just might trick the Universe that eats itself into sparing you. It's worth a try. Conversely, you could just suspend all that desperate positive thinking and accept what is. You might find that it's rather beautiful, being right where you are supposed to be. I have no idea. Personally, I'm just farting around.


Meanwhile, funny cartoonists continue to entertain us. I love self-deprecating humor. It has the power to unite humans and to expand our appreciation of the moment that embraces us all.










Peace, Love, and Happy New Year,
Jim