*ssholes and Good Samaritans

On Saturday, some idiot basically ran me off the road as I tried to merge on the interstate.  I’ve probably merged at this same spot literally 800 times in the past–it’s right by my house–so it’s not like I’m unfamiliar with the ramp or how to drive my car!  Driving on the berm to avoid hitting this idiot (who had plenty of room to move out of the way grrr) apparently introduced a foreign object to my tire, which went flat within a mile.

I started changing it (thank you David for teaching me how last year!), and a nice guy stopped to help after several minutes of me trying to find all the parts.  VW has a few special tools for the job but we figured it out.  This stranger pretty much had it all wrapped up by the time David arrived–poor guy was on the phone with me as I said mean things about the person who was running me off the road and then when I determined I had a problem, and he came to help.

My passenger, little Marty the bunny, was a good sport as he sat in his carrier on the side of the road, traffic rushing by at 65mph.  In the end I had to get a new tire, but that was a lot cheaper than in April when a semi blew his tire right in front of me, causing $1400 in damage to my bumper!  Once in awhile insurance does come in handy.

Costly choppers

I had another dentist appointment yesterday to plan the attack.  I need about $18K in dental work.  I have at least three oral surgeries planned before the end of the year, and then I need a crapload of crowns.  The surgeries involve a “voluntaryâ€? root canal (hooray) and crown lengthening procedures.  That’s where they cut away your gums to expose more of the tooth root.

All of this is because I drank Coke my whole life and had a grinding problem.  I have eaten away a lot of my teeth.  Dentures, you might ask?  Is it ever worth $18K to repair your teeth?  Well, at only 30 years old, that’s a lot of years of dentures ahead of me.  Apparently they are not a good answer for me at all.  I don’t really want them, and I guess it’s lucky that I have good insurance.  But good grief.  Why can’t my teeth grow all the time like my rabbits’ teeth do?

The worst part of all this is that I had to give up Coke.  I have been forbidden from all carbonated beverages forever.  I cheated a little, but I’ve only had four Cokes since Memorial Day (when I got this bad news).  I still crave McDonald’s Coke.  What with giving up that and also meat, though, it sure is easier to avoid drive-thrus!  I still crave their french fries…

I’m actually seeing faculty members of the IU dental school for all this work.  I figured I better go to the experts if I need this much done.

I like high gas prices.

Not really. But I like that prices are finally high enough to cause the average American to rethink his gas-guzzling ways. “We don’t need alternative fuels–our cars can’t use them yet and there aren’t any stations! Just drill for more oil in our own country to keep those prices cheap!” Sound familiar? Drives me insane.

If we don’t give someone the incentive to develop the fuels and plants and stations needed to provide each of us biodiesel, E85, etc, why would anyone do it? Instead we keep giving breaks to big oil, who continue to not make these developments nor increase refinery capacity (I don’t blame them–capitalism works a lot better when you squeeze the dollars out without spending more). Instead, let’s put that money into developing the infrastructure for known alternatives and in discovering/developing viable new ones (hydrogen cell?).

“But it won’t help me today! I wan’t cheaper gas for my 14-mpg SUV!” Obviously oil is not the solution. If you keep doing what you’ve always done you’ll keep getting the results you’ve always gotten. Build us some options so in a few years (and many of us can use these now!) I can fill my car with biodiesel and you can fill yours with E85 and not only will Earth be happier, but we can quit being caught with our pants down in the Middle East.

In the meantime, I post local gas prices daily and benefit from others who do the same. Now I always know which station is cheapest! IndyGasPrices.com

I’ve been working on the drivvvvvewaaaaay….

Somehow David guilted me into helping him with his various homestead projects.  These involve turning his Irvington home into a fortress.  Yesterday I was using a pick-axe and hauling a freaking heavy landscape timber in and out of the shop.  The pick-axe thing was to save $84 in tiller rental, which I have to admit is probably worth it when you’re as cheap as I am, but still… a pick-axe??  That grass in the soon-to-be-driveway didn’t have a chance!

Then I was supposed to be on vacation today, but the appointment I made which required this time off of work was canceled, so I just slept in and went to work for half the day.  Meanwhile my neighbor started getting a new roof at 7 a.m. and that didn’t help the sleeping in go too well.  Then Casper decided she had to bark at the guys on the roof instead of pooping, but I guess I can’t blame her.  I just didn’t like standing in the wet yard in my pajamas watching her bark, since she needs company to go outside!

Good thing I like mac & cheese

I’m sure everyone knew this was coming, but I’m trying to go vegetarian. I think by announcing it here I’m more likely to hold myself accountable. Some days it’s really easy and some days it’s hard. It mostly depends on what food I’m craving, which is often pasta anyway, but when you go to a restaurant and the descriptions of the bleu cheese burger make you hungry, it’s difficult.

I think I was semi-inspired by my friend/fellow rabbit rescuer Dawn, mostly because I can see it’s normal for her and not a big deal. I knew a lot of vegetarians in college, but the idea didn’t stick then (I’m sure it was planted). Unfortunately the list of veggies/fruits I like is probably smaller than the list of the ones I don’t like, but I do love grains so hopefully it’ll all work out. The big gigantic why-I’m-doing-it reason, of course, is because I can’t stand the thought of hurting an animal. The health benefits and environmental reasons are just icing on the cake. But not too much because I prefer plain cake…

Owning pets who were bred to be someone’s dinner, and knowing that the USDA regulations on killing a rabbit (or a chicken!) for food allow one to slaughter them while conscious, make me want to do whatever I can to help. It’s not much, I guess, but I feel guilty enough when everyone’s unwanted Easter bunnies are humanely euthanized at the shelter. I can’t handle more guilt just eating a chicken sandwich.

I found this interesting from the American Dietetic Association:

In 2000, approximately 2.5% of the US adult population (4.8 million people) consistently followed a vegetarian diet and affirmed that they never ate meat, fish, or poultry (7). Slightly less than 1% of those polled were vegans (7). According to this poll, vegetarians are most likely to live on the east or west coast, in large cities, and to be female. Approximately 2% of 6- to 17-year-old children and adolescents in the United States are vegetarians, and around 0.5% of this age group are vegan (8). According to a 2002 survey (9), about 4% of Canadian adults are vegetarian; this represents an estimated 900,000 people. Factors that may affect the number of vegetarians in the United States and Canada in the future include an increased interest in vegetarianism and the arrival of immigrants from countries where vegetarianism is commonly practiced (10). Twenty to 25% of adults in the United States report that they eat 4 or more meatless meals weekly or “usually or sometimes maintain a vegetarian diet,�? suggesting an interest in vegetarianism (11). Additional evidence for the increased interest in vegetarianism includes the emergence of animal rights/ethics courses on college and university campuses; the proliferation of Web sites, magazines and newsletters, and cookbooks with a vegetarian theme; and the public’s attitude toward ordering a vegetarian meal when eating away from home. More than 5% of those surveyed in 1999 said they always order a vegetarian meal when they eat out; close to 60% “sometimes, often, or always�? order a vegetarian item at a restaurant (12).

I guess I thought there were more vegetarians!

My first bunny, Luke, went from a life of being fed so he could be slaughtered to a life of whatever the heck he wanted to do:

Luke

…And Keep Looking Up!

I was thinking about Star Hustler the other day.  Whatever happened to Jack Horkheimer?  Apparently his show is now Star Gazer because little kids were looking him up on the internet and finding that “hustler” was more than just a chubby guy getting excited about planets.  I guess his show is still on but I don’t watch a lot of PBS these days.  He used to be on just before sign-off.  One of the funniest things online about Star Hustler was an article in The Onion in 1997 about him getting so excited about a comet that he had to go to the hospital.  There are strangely very few pictures of Jack on the internet…

Jack Horkheimer, Star Hustler

Good deed week

I’m very excited about a new fundraiser for our rabbit rescue.  It’s actually something useful, which makes me not feel guilty about asking others to contribute.  It doesn’t even cost you anything to use!  If you perform your internet searches from this Goodsearch link, our organization earns money.  It’s the same functionality as any Yahoo! search (yes, I prefer Google too…but we really need the cash).  We earned $40 already and only rolled it out a few weeks ago.  I reiterate: it doesn’t cost you anything!!  Just bookmark the site (or install the toolbar) and use it for your online searches. 

 This week, I somehow had the chance to:

  • donate a backpack and other school supplies to a drive for needy kids in the neighborhood near work
  • link a person with a recurring “free kittens” sign with a free spay/neuter program
  • Freecycle some steel-toed boots and a light to people who needed them

Not tooting the horn, really.  I just had some good opportunities this week.