The Arizona Desert: Old West Revisited…Sort Of

Old Tucson Studios Western Town SetSince heading down to the Arizona desert, it does feel sort of like I’ve revisited the old west. Of course a lot of that feeling is down to the fact that if I’m not bicycling or traveling “shank’s mare” to make the 13 mile round trip (plus) to town and back, I’ve no satellite for television. [Or Internet that works well enough to watch anything else.]

Now before folks start thrusting fingers and shouting at me to stop whining, let me explain.

I’ve spent most of the last year watching television shows and doing recaps/reviews each and every week. There was a long list of shows that I covered. From new ones like” Gotham” and “Scorpion,” to older popular ones like “The Walking Dead,” I covered as many as I could. Since many came on at the same time, I used the DVR and Hulu Plus to the maximum extent possible to catch-all that were available.

Now, I’ve only my DVD collection to watch, and write on occasionally, to keep me amused. I’ve discovered that free WiFi, while not strong enough for the screeners sent by Sony/SyFy for “Helix”, work (just barely) for Hulu and Netflix. I’ve not tried Amazon Prime just yet to see if this works at Carl Jr’s or Burger King.

Oddly enough, I had gotten out of the habit of watching telly while living in England. Oh, I had a few favorites. I spent a pretty exciting and very entertaining time binge watching Breaking Bad after finally discovering what all the fuss was about. The Walking Dead was another instant addiction as was American Horror Story.  But other shows on the box were ignored. My biggest passion was playing video games, doing the odd YouTube video on films and writing for this blog.

I am slowly trying to sort out the Internet situation and getting back on the television teat so I can write about shows I like, or in the case of Gracepoint, dislike…a lot. Funds are low and eating, along with paying off bills and medication are the highpoint of my existence at this moment so the problems with reviewing will have to stay unsolved for the time being.

Desert Mountain

Apart from discovering that walking the desert on the way to town (and WiFi) and back feels like revisiting the old west when one strays from the road and crosses the hardpan, I’ve learned that 56 year-old legs, knees, ankles and the back take a pounding. I’ve even gotten the odd blister… Granted, I do tend to powerwalk where I can, after all I was a Prison Officer for 10 years and passed my fitness test each and every year, but my body, since the very invasive operations in 2012, is complaining.

Loudly.

Aches, cramps and bruising aside, the walks are brilliant. The landscape is breathtaking, inspiring and addictive.  This is during the day of course. After dark is another matter. Dusk is interesting, but hazardous. (Dusk was when I did  my faceplant in the dusty desert floor.) There are animals roaming the desert when the sun goes down; most of which are better equipped than I at survival if we should meet.

Listening this evening to a couple of coyotes yipping, yowling and howling just around the corner from my temporary home, goose-flesh marching up and down my entire body while doing so, reminded me that these pack roaming creatures will attack a singleton wandering across the hardpan.

Then there is the mountain lion that is hanging around the area, I have seen his (or her) prints and the thing is huge. Neither of these would have anything to fear from me. Like any unarmed red-blooded male, I would most likely scream in terror and might just get a couple of steps away before getting nom-nommed for their tea.

Still, in the moments where I am walking the desert floor and the 4X4’s, Quads and motorbikes are nowhere too near, I can hear my footsteps. Crunching through the crusty sand and gravel as well as puffing through the dust.  The birds, one who sounds just like he/she is whistling to get your attention, dart and flitter by to have a quick look at the desert newcomer.

Brief glimpses of jack-rabbits bounding away and, just recently, baby jack-rabbits scurrying clumsily to hide are another delightful occurence. These walks, although pretty damned painful at the moment (not to mention slow) are the preferred  way to cross the desert, rather than riding the bike with the dodgy gears. For one thing, who ever heard of biking through the old west? For another,  this rider cannot power the bike across the hardpan. Too much sand, deep dust and gravel make it difficult to keep pedalling. And of course these is the lack of silence connected with the mechanical means of travel. Ruins the desert aesthetic, doesn’t it.

3 February 2015

Life After Almost Dying…

Unknown

I wanted a nice “eye-catching” title for my post today. After battling with myself for all of two minutes, I decided not to use the Life after Death title I wanted. Because, although I was technically “dead” while they operation on me for hours, I wasn’t really dead.

At least, I don’t think so.

I mean,  I did not see a white light; get visited by old dear dead relatives; receive any messages from beyond and I did not have any earth shattering visions. I was a little disappointed.

But then, I felt the same three years ago when they pumped me full of radioactive gunk and ran tests on me. I sort of hoped that I’d get some sort of super power, like Spiderman or even Dr Doom. (I know he’s a bad guy, okay?)

I have mentioned that before I was checked out of the hospital early (the staff and the doctors/surgeons were amazed that I’d “recovered” in 4 days) the cardiologist gave me a “pep” talk.

Said talk consisted of me suddenly realising one day that I’d almost died and that I would react, most probably, badly to it.

Hasn’t happened.

Yet.

But I have changed. No doubt about it. I’m different.

I could not have told you why either. Not until the other day at least.

I’ve finally been allowed to attend cardiology rehabilitation. I won’t go into the reasons why I’ve had to wait for over six months after the heart attack and two surgeries to attend. I’ve written about it all before. At my first “rehab” appointment I was given a questionnaire to fill in. Very much like the one I’d filled in on my first visit to my local GP after I got home from the hospital.

It asks lots of questions about how you feel.

Do you worry? Are you stressed? And so on.

One question towards the end  jumped off the page at me.

http://www.google.co.uk/url?sa=i&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=images&cd=&cad=rja&docid=j5v0icf_wah8RM&tbnid=z6Ic8jgYKePDqM:&ved=0CAQQjB0&url=http%3A%2F%2Fkatarzyna24.wordpress.com%2F2008%2F02%2F25%2Ftempus-fugit%2F&ei=T8J-UZmJAsnO0QWG54GoAQ&bvm=bv.45645796,d.d2k&psig=AFQjCNHb5ni8pL-zIGKHpnKS5wOA_ognkA&ust=1367348112581422
katarzyna24.wordpress.com

Do you feel like you are in a hurry or like there is not enough time?

Bingo!

That is exactly how I feel.

I’ve been rushing around trying to do so many things; mainly because I’m afraid if I don’t, I’ll never get anything accomplished.

It  has dawned on me that I’ve spent the vast majority of my life not doing the things I was passionate about or even enjoyed doing.

My “too close for comfort” brush against the big guy with the scythe and hood made me realise it was time to stop futzing around. I then jumped back into the writing of my blog with almost manic energy (after  I’d started feeling like I really was alive after all) and then took stock.

At the end of that stock take, I’d made up my mind. Try everything that you’ve wanted to do for years; things that, damn it, you were good at. Writing and acting leapt to the front of the queue.

I am writing (a bit more sedately as I’m having to share my output) my blog, of course, but I’m also writing for Rogue Cinema. I’ve gotten my first freelance job, I’ve applied to The New Yorker Times, I’ve been accepted by What Culture and I’ll be acting for the first time in years around June/July this year. I am also, starting on May 16th, a host for Tomorrow Comes Media.

Some of my research.
Some of my research.

I am also up to chapter 7 of my book and I’m still sorting out ideas for more short stories for my collection.

I’m also researching, reading and discovering new authors and films. All these are just on the creative side of my life.

I’ve found that I can also take care of my house, garden, exercise, cook and try to get on top of my financial crisis.

Life is, at the moment, pretty damned sweet.

It is also busy.

So life after almost dying is good and, it has to be said, much better than the alternative.

Writing something!
Writing something!