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Category — Neighborhood

The Public Library – Better than Sliced Bread

As I’ve noted elsewhere, I love books. I have lots of books. Last year I nursed a fantasy that I would be able to give away most of my books but I wasn’t able to follow through on that goal. I have been able to use the library to avoid buying as many new books as I used to buy. This year I’ve bought a few comic/graphic novel books and a cook book or two. That’s pretty good. I feel like I’ve built a dam and it’s holding.

I’ve also been intent on dumping cable. For the ten years I was in California, I didn’t have cable. I signed up here and I was able to see everything I hadn’t seen in about 7-9 months. After that, it was the constant irritation of turning on the TV and seeing infomercials on more channels than original programming. Most of the original programming was Law and Order of various flavors. Why pay for a slime ball company like Comcast or any of the others to pipe an endless stream of screaming infomercials into your home? I cut cable to absolute minimum. I’ve bought an antenna to cut them off completely but I haven’t had time to risk my life installing it.

The other thing I did was join Netflix. Netflix is wonderful. I can watch anything at any time and it’s all stuff that I want to watch. Why doesn’t everyone dump cable and sign with Netflix? It’s pure joy.

Finally, I also pick up media from the library and that’s sort of the point to this rant. Our library has a great collection of DVDs and VHS but they charged for them. The fee was $2 which made them more expensive than Netflix. I picked up a VHS tape at the library today and they’ve stopped charging for the older VHS movies. That’s so fantastic. I know several struggling families that can’t afford even basic 15 channel cable that rely upon the library for most of their entertainment. It’s great to live in a city with a library like ours.

If you haven’t visited your library recently, try visiting on-line. You may find a whole world of free just down the street.

September 13, 2008   No Comments

Animal Hoarder in the Neighborhood

A few weeks ago I woke up to the smell of smoke. It was about 4 AM on a Sunday morning. I checked my place and looked outside. I didn’t see anything. I couldn’t imagine that someone was using their fireplace during the heatwave. I went back to bed.

Around 8 AM I went out to walk Schmooze and Bounder. There were fire trucks and paramedics and way too many people about this generally very serene neighborhood. Attracted by the excitement, the dogs and I went over to my neighbor’s house where firemen were busy raking her flower bed. The heat from her air conditioner had ignited a fire in her mulch. That was the smoke I smelled. Luckily, no real damage was done.

This little hubbub was how I found out that we have a cat hoarder in the neighborhood. In order to make sure the fire was contained, the firemen went under my neighbor’s town home. The ammonia smell was so bad under her house that they had to wear their breathing gear. The woman in the town home next to my neighbor is a cat hoarder and the smell from her place has permeated everything in the immediate vicinity.

When the cat hoarder first moved in, I tried to be neighborly. I waved and when my pups found a few kittens near the front of her place, I asked if they were hers and said how cute they were. At this point, the cat hoarder said to me that she let her cats out to get pregnant. I smiled and went on my way. I filed the new neighbor under wacko. I had no idea what was going on in her house.

In the few weeks since the fire, the woman next door to the hoarder has kept me informed. I’ve seen the animal control truck removing cats from the hoarder’s home. The whole thing went before a judge last week and the hoarder is under court order to get down to 5 cats and to clean up the smell. I love cats. Animal hoarding is yet another flavor of obsessive compulsive disorder. Even though this lady is obviously nuts, I couldn’t sit by and just watch. I tried contacting some rescue groups and one came through.

Today, I left a note on the hoarder’s truck giving her a number to call. I hope she makes the call and saves the cats she has left. Animal control has already removed over fifty from the house. I rode my bike to her truck to leave the note. I see this truck now and then full of trash bags. I had no idea until the fire that the bags were cat litter. I would always marvel at the amount of trash she had. She seemed to make more trash in a week than I make in six months. When I dropped the note today, she had about four bags in the back of her truck. The smell nearly knocked me over. I can’t imagine what it must be like in this woman’s house. She probably has permanent lung damage and doesn’t even know it.

September 16, 2007   No Comments