I seem to be having a bit of friction with Nature right now. Need to sort this out. Monday, waking up in the desert (family visit – staying in a house not a tent), I put my hand on my pants to put them on and go out into the world. There was a strikingly sharp and hard jab, as though I’d grabbed a needle with my finger. I thought it odd, not having had a needle or other pointed object in my clothing. I decided to have a look… There, partly visible in one of the pockets was a scorpion! I thought about this for a few seconds and tried to recall whether there was some kind of venomous variety in this area, and whether this was one of them. Pausing for a while, I felt slightly dizzy for a tiny moment and then decided that was my imagination, and then I carried the pants out to the kitchen to discuss the matter with one of my hosts. After some research (and his rapid dispatching of the unfortunate beast), I decided that it was the wrong sort, and moreover, at only a few inches in length, probably too juvenile. Also, my finger showed no signs of distress, and so I got on with the day.
Last night, back home in Los Angeles, I discovered an unwelcome visitor in my crawl space. A skunk (at least one). This has happened before, and is simply annoying, because besides smelling bad, they mess with the insulation in my heating system, which is not acceptable. So I set about trying to encourage it to go away. The strategy? Same as I used some years back: First, open up the place it had burrowed its way in and put a layer of flour outside it to reveal tracks when it leaves. Second… use an even more terrible smell than it wields to make it decide that this is no longer a good place to live. I happen to have a very powerful ammonium hydroxide solution in my lair, and I decided to weaponize it this time by diluting it a bit more and putting it into a spray bottle (set to squirt, not spray) to enable me to hurl it several feet in front of me. Then I set about going down to the basement and beginning the war (eviction process). You might be amused by my battle gear, photographed right*.