Free Dinner 

It has been hot around here lately, which isn't so bad for me during the day, but at night things get to be a little unbearable. The afternoon heat seeps into the walls and then pours slowly out at night in a claustrophobia-inducing miasma of dark warmth. I try not to stay up too late watching television, but is sometimes hard to go to sleep at a decent hour under a blanket of heat.

The other day, I decided to indulge in my bad habit of eating fast food. Although I had a good breakfast of eggs, toast, and whatnot, I skipped lunch and when 9:00 p.m. rolled around, I figured that Burger King was a good enough place to fill my belly. And, when I say fill my belly, I mean just that; after as many hamburgers as I have eaten in my life time, they all have that same cardboard-bland-like taste. I should have cooked dinner, but like I said, it is a bad habit.

Night Mountain

So, I drove eight blocks down to the restaurant, pulled up to the drive-thru speaker and ordered a number one with a coke. (For those of you who do not eat at Burger King, a number one is a whopper, fries, and a drink: $4.29 where I live.) As I pulled around the building, I saw a man--who looked homeless--digging through the garbage. As I drove around him, he had found a hamburger that someone had thrown away. He held it in his hand as he continued to search the trash can. It seemed as if he was looking for more food.

I pulled up to the pickup window, paid my money, and waited the few minutes to get my order. None of the employees seemed to have noticed the man, otherwise, I am sure that they would have told him to leave. In my several previous trips to fast food restaurants, I have been occasionally asked by homeless people to buy them sandwiches, and I have seen the restaurant employees chase these people away.

The man who had been digging in the trash for food left by the time that I got my order, but I drove back behind the building and tracked him down a couple blocks away. He was walking through the parking lot of an industrial building. "Hey! Buddy," I called out to him. "Are you hungry?" He stopped a looked at me for a brief second before answering that he was. He looked a little embarrassed to admit that fact. He also seemed to recognize that I was going to give him my all food, the whole order, which I did. After I handed the meal over, I drove to the next fast food restaurant, McDonald's, and got another meal for myself.

29 May 2005

Injured Bird 

Okay, so the other day, I decided that I was having kind of a bad day. It was already late afternoon, I was tired, but I needed to do much more work to get caught up for the day. It involved reading and writing, and I was already overwhelmed with that. I was also a bit depressed for various personal reasons that I won't go into. Since I had not eaten anything all day, I figured that the least I could do was buy some fast food and go to the local park. Fast food is a bad habit that I am trying to break, but since I needed to really get out of the house and I did not want to cook, I told myself that a burger would be a quick indiscretion.

After purchasing a meal I felt guilty for eating, I drove up to the city park on top of the hill. It is a nice park where you have to walk west for ten minutes to get a tremendous view of the entire city. Although there are some great trees with a lovely canopy, the view is high enough up to see the whole valley in which the town is nestled.

Finding a relatively secluded spot away from the occasional joggers and bicyclists, I sat down, ate, and opened a book. The breeze was cool and the sun was warm, and I was engrossed in my book. After about twenty or thirty minutes, something small jumped out of the tree at my head. I recovered a few seconds later to realize that a bird had just flew over my shoulder by only a couple of feet. And then I noticed that it wasn't a regular park bird, but a yellow and white cockatiel. It was obviously somebody's pet.

Injured Cockatiel

I sat and watched the bird as it watched me in return. Of course, I wondered where it had come from, but I did not see anyone searching the park with a bird cage in hand. Nor did I remember seeing any lost bird signs posted anywhere as I had driven up to the park. It appeared to me that the bird was a little distressed. It was shivering, fluffed up, and it seemed to be trying to gather the courage to dive bomb me again. I stood up and stretched out my arms. After was seemed like another thirty minutes of me looking like a statue, after a couple of more dive bombs by the bird, it glided out of the tree and landed on my shoulder.

My concern for the bird shifted slightly towards myself in that I now wondered what I was going to do next. I figured that I should try to take it back to my car and search for its owner. Slowly I began walking down the hill with the bird perched precariously on my shoulder. A few people, mostly joggers, walked by and gave me odd looks. One person asked me how I had trained my bird to stay on my shoulder outside. I explained the situation and asked if they were missing a bird. The stranger answered no, but his energetic dog frightened the bird back in the trees. At this point, I figured that the bird was not going to come back. But, as I did not try to harm it while we walked down the hill, it trusted me enough to come back to my shoulder after another patient twenty minutes. Taking no chance this second time, I grabbed the bird and walked the rest of the way to my car.

I drove around the neighborhood for an hour trying to locate someone who was missing their bird, but no luck. Long story short: the bird you see in the picture above has been with me for the past five days. It resides in a cage in my living room. A trip to the veterinarian confirmed that the bird had been injured by some other small animal. I think that contributed to the bird's decision to trust me, a total stranger. I will continue to search for the the bird's owner for a while, but so far nothing has turned up. It looks I will be keeping this bird for some time to come. Any suggestions for a name? (She's a female).

24 May 2005

Status Report 

It has been awhile since I have last posted here, but I've been alternating between doing work and catching up on sleep. Personal issues have kept me from getting everything I had planned done. However, I have managed to do quite a bit already. The most significant of which is a working bibliography for my next report. I still have a ton of reading to do, which I'm working on right now.

Rainy Day

I no longer have access to a digital camera. I used to be able to check one out from the college library, but that is no longer an option. I don't forsee having to stop posting pictures here on my site because I still have a few on my laptop that I have yet to post. The other day, I foolishly tried to win one. I won't explain how, except I will mention that it involved staying up nineteen hours in a row. And even after all that, I'm pretty sure I did not win. Oh well. Lesson learned.

17 May 2005


Some days ago, I got a phone call from the police informing me that my car had been found. As I mentioned in the previous post, I had been through this whole process before, but even still, it was still a little nerve-wracking. It seems as if I had been holding back my emotions until my car was found because some anxiety and apprehension came creeping back after I hung up the phone. The cop had said that he would wait about a half an hour for me to show up, after which time the car may be impounded.

I quickly checked the Internet to find out how to get to where the cop said the car was, which was about ten minutes north of where I live. I printed the directions, and drove the rental car back to the rental office. I tried to return it, figuring I could get a free ride to where my car was. And although I was in the office behing the counter, the manager unfortunately said that they were closing for the day and did not have the time to take their car back or drive me to mine. I couldn't stay to argue, not that I would have anyway, so I left without saying much beyond a mumbled "Ok," and I drove the rental out to my car.

When I got to the intersection where my stolen car had been abandoned, I saw the sheriff's deputy waiting for me in his patrol car. We both got out of our vehicles, and after assuring himself that I was who I said I was, and not like the disheveled homeless guy I looked like, we examined at the car togther. Although it was obvious that the theif (or thieves) had rifled through it looking for things to steal or sell, it was equally obvious that they hadn't stole anything. The ignition cover around the steering column was damaged. The cop said it looked like they "popped" the ignition. As my car was most definitely the huge pile orangutan crap that it appeared to be, the cop did not wait around too long to get any details. But before he left, he did tell me that he had recovered another stolen car, almost exactly like mine, in the same area just a day before. Apparently, Hondas made before 1996 are easy to steal. Just my luck.

Now by myself, I stood out in the street trying to figure what to do next. My immediate problem was that I now had two cars in one place and needed to get them both back home. After making a couple of phone calls to local friends who were not home, I slowly realized that I needed to drive the rental home and get a taxi back to the intersection. As I drove home in the rental, it was starting to get a little dark. It took me longer to search through the phonebook for a taxi than it did for the taxi to arrive to pick me up. The driver said almost nothing. He was listening to some real-estate investment scheme on the radio. I didn't feel like interuppting him too much. Thirteen bucks and an hour and a half later, I had my car back.

I'm glad the whole experience is over, and it is nice that I have my car back, but my insurance rates are going to go up (of course), and the deductible I need to pay for the repair is too much for me to even bother fixing the ignition cover. I bought a club, the cost of which will be barely covered by the small insurance payment I will get. In the midst of all of this, I'm trying to get my work done, but things haven't been going great for me during the last few weeks. Intellectually, I know that things can better, but right now, I'm struggling to keep on tops of things.

09 May 2005