Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Between a Rock and a Hard Place…

There was a knock upon my door late yesterday evening. At first, I had trouble discerning whether it was an auditory hallucination due to my schizophrenia until Maggie came running jubilantly out of my bedroom and into the den whining and barking. She gets so excited when I have company. My father was standing out in the cold night air on the threshold of my backdoor.
“Uh, no,” I said hating to lie to my mother. I was between a rock and a hard place. “I think he went down to the pharmacy to check on some things.”
“Can I borrow your DVD player and the television?” He asked.

“Sure,” I said as I opened the door wide and welcomed him inside.

My father is obsessed with the British Monarchy. They have a library in their home and it is filled with books on the Monarchy that were gifts and purchases over the years. My father has read them all. In his hand tonight was a DVD video he wanted to watch that he had ordered from public television out of Boston.

“Your mother is driving me crazy,” He said. “She has asked me a thousand questions since I arrived home from work. I couldn’t take it any longer and need to watch this in some peace and quiet.”

I laughed. My mother is a tad obsessive compulsive. “Like mother, like son,” I thought. She has been known to call me three or four times in a row asking questions as well. My recent abscessed tooth brought forth a frenzy of concerned and obsessive calls from her. I managed to narrowly escape going to the dentist due to her urging by taking antibiotics.

Ring. Ring.

Dad was watching his video as I answered my phone.

“I am not here,” He said.

I picked up the phone and said hello.

“Andrew, your father has just disappeared and I am worried about him,” My mother said on the other end.

“He’s fine,” I replied.

“Have you seen him?”

I looked at dad wondering how to answer. He waved me off.

“Uh, no,” I said hating to lie to my mother. I was between a rock and a hard place. “I think he went down to the pharmacy to check on some things.”

I finally managed to get off the phone with my mother. Dad thanked me for so astutely handling that awkward situation. I sat down with him and watched the rest of that DVD about Charles, The Prince of Wales, and Camella Parker Bowle’s royal wedding. It was nice spending some quiet time with my father even if the video bored me to tears. I have never been one much for weddings. I was almost late for my own.

A New Morning Dawns...

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

The Final Coat of Paint...

My Den

My Bedroom

My Computer and Entertainment Room

A Moment of Reflection…

Lunch time found me sitting down at the shopping center in deep thought. The four walls of my apartment felt like they were closing in on me and I craved fresh air and the busyness of other people’s lives. I quietly watched as the many people came to and fro from the stores near me.
I pulled out my pack of cigarettes and offered her a smoke. Just like George hates to drink alone, I hate to smoke alone and wanted to share the joy.
Rosa came walking down and sat down beside me. I was glad to have her near to talk to.

“You look like shit,” She said. “You need a shave.”

“I feel like shit,” I replied rubbing my face.

I pulled out my pack of cigarettes and offered her a smoke. Just like George hates to drink alone, I hate to smoke alone and wanted to share the joy. I have smoked three packs since midnight last night as is par for the course when I am feeling mentally interesting.

“You are awfully quiet,” She said contemplatively.

“I know,” I said. “I am dealing with a shit load of mental baggage at the moment.”

“When I get to feeling down and crazy,” She said. “I eat a good meal and lie down for a nap. I always wake up feeling better.”

I took Rosa’s advice and headed home for a good lunch and a nap. I hadn’t eaten since yesterday afternoon. I warmed up some left over pot roast and vegetables and made a big cast iron pan of buttery and spicy Mexican cornbread. I took a double dose of my noon time medications and got to feeling much better in an hour after lying down. Rosa was right and I added this routine to my list of things to do when feeling like crap. It is amazing that something so simple can make you feel so much better. Routines are the key.

No Good Judgment…

I just don’t exhibit good judgment when I am not feeling well with regards to what I will write or post. I am clueless about social norms which was the case of an old post I published dealing with homelessness this morning and then took down. There was a good reason I never published it, but that escaped me this morning. Until I get to feeling better, I am on sabbatical.


When my mental illness rears it’s ugly head, I usually turn tail and hide. This can often mean falling silent and going to bed for a few days. Just warning a few of you if that happens.
I have had trouble discerning reality from fantasy tonight. I also constantly hear what is like a car door shutting outside and it is literally driving me crazy.
I have had trouble discerning reality from fantasy tonight. I also constantly hear what is like a car door shutting outside and it is literally driving me crazy. Add my social phobias to the mix and the door shutting sound makes my heart race and anxieties roil as I fear I have company or strangers coming over.

I and Charlie finished painting my den, computer room, and bedroom today. We painted them this beautiful beige/olive color that I really liked. I will try and get some pictures up for Annabel if I feel like driving over. All that is left is my laundry room, bathroom, and kitchen. I hope to be moved in soon. I am waiting on one of the workers to add the wood trim around the windows in the laundry room and to put linoleum down on the kitchen floor. That’s about it and I will be ready to move in. Those of you that have read me for years were probably wondering if this new house was just a figment of my imagination as the remodeling was so long and drawn out. I assure you it’s the real deal. The house is paid for and just awaiting occupancy.

Well, I am about to take an extra dose of my anti-psychotic (usually that makes me sleepy) and try my hardest to sleep. I have usually been in the bed for hours by now. I hate it when I feel like this. My mind is so buzzy and my thoughts so chaotic. I am sure my dreams will be just as vibrant and “crazy” tonight as my waking hours this evening. I hope you all have a good day tomorrow and I will try not to make my silence last too long. Good night.

Monday, January 29, 2007

The Weather Ahead this Week...

Interesting weather ahead for the Deep South as a storm forms over the Gulf of Mexico and east Texas and slides into Alabama, Tennessee, and Georgia Wednesday night on into Thursday. It looks like it will be an all rain event here with the ice/snow line around the Alabama, Georgia, and Tennessee border. Some models are calling for a half inch of ice in northern Alabama, northern Georgia, and southern Tennessee. That will certainly bring down power lines. One cubic foot of ice weighs a little over 62 pounds and when all that ice forms on something, things come crashing down.

The weather continues to be unsettled on into next week with a series of storms forming over the Gulf and moving across the southern states. This has all the models confused and running a tad on the warm side. We barely got out of the thirties today with the noon time GFS model predicting temperatures in the high forties. That is way off!

Will we get anything more interesting in the next few days other than rain? The pattern is set with lots of reinforcing shots of cold Canadian air over the next week. Keep an eye on the radar and your favorite local forecast. Most meteorologists are handling the forecast on a day to day basis as the models are not handling the current pattern very well.

Images and radar courtesy of

A Flourish of Orange and Red…

Dawn arrives with a flourish of oranges and reds on the horizon revealing a heavily frost covered landscape. Old man winter decided to pay a visit overnight and the morning is brutally cold. I wrap my heavy coat around me tightly and pull my wool toboggan down over my ears. I am so obsessive compulsive that even the coldest morning of the year will not deter me from my morning walk.
At the table beside me sits an elderly couple. I notice they pray very visibly before starting their meal of eggs, bacon, grits, and toast. Such a blatant show of religiosity would embarrass me deeply I remark.
I finally walk six miles. I am only about ten minutes away from home when I make a detour for the diner with thoughts of hot coffee upon my mind. I step inside to the almost blustery hot confines to find a scattering of people sitting around eating breakfast. In one corner sits a gruff looking railroad crew heartily eating and boisterously talking. I wonder where they are headed today upon the rails after their meal. It invokes the wanderlust within me.

I pull off my cap and sit down with that hot coffee in hand as I warm up and watch the world unfold around me. At the table beside me sits an elderly couple. I notice they pray very visibly before starting their meal of eggs, bacon, grits, and toast. Such a blatant show of religiosity would embarrass me deeply I remark. The old woman scolds her husband for not putting a napkin in his lap like a mother hen. It reminds me of my own experiences with being married to an overbearing wife. He sullenly complies and unfurls the napkin upon his legs as he begins to eat, too tired looking and broken by years of marriage to contest.

I finish my coffee and walk over for a refill. I carefully pour in cream and sugar to give the coffee an appearance of caramel. I step back out into the cold morning air as my warm breath condenses and bellows out in great drafts of steam. I head for home.

As I walk, I remember the often said remark that people live lives of quiet desperation as I often have during these long years of adulthood. It brings to mind that elderly hen pecked fellow and his stodgy and overbearing wife. “What a saint,” I remark of him as I walk. I am glad to report that I am living a life of unbridled joy and exuberant adulation these days. I only have one day at a time to live and what a glorious one morning it was.

Sunday, January 28, 2007

New Home Update...

Well, me and Charlie finished the sheetrock and started painting my new house today. The time is getting close to when I will be able to move in. I can’t wait to have my own home for a change!

Homeless is as Homeless does…

I was reading a recent post written by The Homeless Guy. He loves to portray the life of homelessness as hard and arduous. It is all a play on your sympathies and a tug upon your heartstrings and purse strings. I call it his Messiah complex. He wants you to believe that he is “suffering” for a greater cause; that of advocacy for the homeless and their plight. Yes, I will agree that those long winter nights spent in a tent were awfully cold and I would often cry myself to sleep bundled up in my down sleeping bag. There is an untold story of homelessness though; a tale of idle days with little responsibility and even less direction to life.
I regained a home a bitter, resentful, and hurt man. I was coming off the heels of a devastating divorce. I was a broken soul. It was easier to just escape into the woods with all my camping gear carrying a case of beer, a carton of cigarettes, and a sorely damaged and bruised psyche.
Years later, I look back on my homelessness with a certain fondness. They were very, very simple times where my only responsibility was keeping up my addictions. I have found that keeping a home is much harder. If keeping a home was easy and not filled with many pitfalls then there would be very little homelessness.

One of the hardest aspects of keeping a home for me has been juggling the many responsibilities that came with said ownership. I had to become an adult. I had to think carefully of the future and plan ahead. No longer could I just run willy nilly rampant through life without a forethought for the future. I had to save my money. I had to be careful with my shopping and purchases. I had to pay the bills. I had to sober up. I had to take my many medications for my schizophrenia. I had to rebuild family relationships and friendships and nurture them. I had to escape the selfish thinking of the homeless mind and become more aware of the people around me. All of this took hard work. One of the hardest things was reaching out for help. I was always a very prideful man and swallowing that pride and rash bravado was a giant hurdle to leap.

I regained a home a bitter, resentful, and hurt man. I was coming off the heels of a devastating divorce. I was a broken soul. It was easier to just escape into the woods with all my camping gear carrying a case of beer, a carton of cigarettes, and a sorely damaged and bruised psyche. The cold was a less cruel mistress. I wouldn’t have to deal with people, my pain, or all the responsibilities of life. I was alone with only my own selfish concerns to care about and the alcohol to drown my sorrows in.

I look back on the past few years of regaining a home as some of the hardest I have experienced, but also the most rewarding. As my life grew less chaotic, I become more sure of myself and a self healing occurred. I regained my composure. I regained some sense of pride and wellbeing. The many burned bridges of my past life were rebuilt and strengthened. It took a lot of hard work and this broken and battered man was made whole again. For the first time in my life, I am responsible for myself and my actions. That is a very novel concept in this life of a formerly homeless man.

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Digital Photography Accessories, A Shout Out, and a Blog of Note…

When choosing a digital camera, one of the best choices I made was buying a camera that used standard AA size batteries. You can find them anywhere around the globe in a pinch.

Another great purchase, although expensive, was to buy rechargeable nickel metal hydride batteries and a charger. I bought this charger and two sets of batteries up at Kroger. It was rather costly but I have already saved money on the purchase in the short life of my camera ownership compared to the cost of replacing traditional alkaline batteries.


My good and dear friend Pipe Tobacco is going through an especially tumultuous and arduous time. Abbagirl originally came up with this “shout out,” but I wanted to follow her lead and do the same. If you get anything out of this blog, do me a favor and drop Pipe a line of support. He needs our little blogging community to rally around him at this time. Just a small comment of I hear you and hope you get to feeling better can make all the difference for a fellow blogger and it only takes a few seconds.

The Thoughts of a Frumpy Professor

Some other blogs of note to check out are…

Angel – She is so funny and cracks me up with her razor sharp wit. I love her video blogs as well. She is also a devastatingly beautiful redhead. Thank you for your comments Angel!

The Emancipation of a Drama Queen

Pitter Patter of Raindrops and Possible Little Feet…

It is raining softly outside my windows tonight. The only sound is that of the pitter patter of great drops of water off the eaves of my house. This house does not have any gutters and furrows have been carved out around the house in the lawn below from the relentless onslaught of water.

Maggie just sighed softly and is lying at my feet. She normally goes to bed around nine and will no doubt make her way to the bedroom soon to wait upon me.

George came by this afternoon and it was a most interesting encounter. He was quite animated during our discussion.

“Pookie told me she was pregnant and wanted me to start paying child support,” George said exasperated reeking of alcohol.

“I doubt a woman in her late forties is pregnant,” I replied. “That would be highly unusual.”

Still, it had George worried. Pookie just wants more money out of George. She is an irascible character and will say anything in the heat of the moment of one of their many arguments.

After George had left, I walked back down to the shopping center. The winter sun was hanging low on the horizon and dark clouds were rolling in from the Gulf of Mexico. You could smell the forthcoming rain upon the breeze. Rosa was nowhere to be seen, but Big S was perched upon his usual bench looking for the handouts of the more monetarily endowed shoppers than he. I avoided an encounter with him though. I didn’t want to get caught in another discussion about football and that is all Big S and the gang seem to be talking about these days with the impending Super Bowl on the way.

I decided upon the chicken wings restaurant on the corner of the shopping center. I walked in, placed my order, and sat down. Soon they called my number and my meal was ready. I quietly sat eating as I dipped each spicy hot chicken wing into cooling blue cheese dressing and carefully nibbled all the little bones free from their meat. The crunch of ice cold celery would resound after every bite followed by a drink of coca-cola. It was a messy affair and soon my fingers were covered in greasy buffalo wing sauce. I had ordered two dozen wings and could only eat a dozen and a half. Six remained and I closed the lid to my to-go box and carried them to Big S. I handed out the box as I walked by.

“Buffalo chicken wings,” I replied as I kept walking.

I could hear the box open and Big S begin to eat as I disappeared down the bend in the sidewalk to walk on home. It has been an uneventful day.

Rough Exteriors filled with Beauty and Wisdom…

It is late afternoon. I am bored and have read my fill of the internet. I wander down to the shopping center in the late afternoon sun. Nary a cloud is in the sky and the warmth of the low hanging winter sun splashes upon my face only interrupted by the occasional tree or house as I walk through my neighborhood. The day has warmed up quite nicely.

I pass the newspaper office and a few cars are sitting in the parking lot. I think of late deadlines as editors ponderously peruse over today’s newsworthy items for tomorrow’s edition of the local paper getting ready to publish. I don’t envy them of such a job. Early next morning will soon arrive and a sea of delivery cars will adorn the parking lot to deliver the paper in the dark hours before sunrise. People will wander out to a new morning sun to gather their papers only to be entertained by the unexceptional news that a small southern town can generate in one day. The daily police report is one of the most hotly read columns.

As I approach the many dumpsters behind the shopping center, a lone bicycle is propped up against one. An elderly black man crawls out with something in hand. I remark to myself how popular these dumpsters have become for scavenging. Dumpster Diving Dan has the right idea to hit them so early in the morning. That old adage the early bird gets the worm comes to mind. I haven’t seen Dan in days and hope he is okay.

I walk past the hair salon and the tax preparation office as I round the corner. Rosa is sitting on an isolated bench far down from the main part of the shopping center. She looks deep in thought as she holds a can of soda. I take a seat beside her and drum up a conversation. I notice her hands once again as we talk. Just like the many lines on her face, these calloused hands tell a story; a story that is not often told as it is normal to not let your steely guard down that most people put up.

“I have a daughter,” She tells me as I offer her a cigarette from my backpack. “I haven’t seen her in years.”

“Does she live near here?” I ask.

“I don’t know,” Rosa says with a forlorn look upon her weathered face.

“I’ve never had any kids,” I say. “I don’t think I ever will.”

“Never say never,” She replies. “You are still so young and life has a way of bringing the unexpected.”

I realize there is a bright, wise, and beautiful woman underneath that drug worn and unflatteringly rough exterior. She was probably beautiful once and was courted by many a man. She now sits tired in middle age with her thoughts about a past life. Idle days trying to stay clean and sober with those thoughts are not easy. Much like my own long days I have experienced this week broken only by the safe confines of the meeting halls of A.A. every night.

As I leave Rosa, I hand her my spare pack of cigarettes and my almost spent spare lighter from my backpack. She smiles softly revealing a few missing teeth.

“Thank you,” She says. “You made today easier.”

I genuinely just wanted to bring some small comfort to another soul. I needed someone to talk to and she was there. I left her staring out in the parking lot watching the middle class ladies with their glamorous SUVs busily chattering nosily upon cell phones as they all made their way to the many stores in the shopping center to spend their money. Rosa doesn’t have much and her life is far removed from these ladies I just spoke of, but she has a story to tell; a story much richer and vibrant than those of those milquetoast ladies leading uninspired lives filled with the frivolousness of modern American life.

Maggie Lounging in the Sun this Afternoon...

Friday, January 26, 2007

Lunch with Wanda…

I looked at my hair in the mirror of the car using my hand to rearrange it. I had just pulled up into Rodger’s parking lot.

“You are not on a real date, stupid,” I told myself. “You are just going to talk A.A. stuff and eat lunch.”

Still, I didn’t want to look like I just crawled out of the bed and I did. I couldn’t get my hair to do anything.

“Screw it!” I muttered as I reached for my baseball cap on the passenger’s seat and put it on.

I walked into the restaurant to find Wanda sitting by a window near the back. My social anxieties surged. Beads of sweat broke out on my forehead. My hands felt clammy. She turned to look at me and waved me over as she smiled. I felt as if everyone in the busy restaurant was watching me. I took a seat at the table.

“I was beginning to think you weren’t coming,” She said.

“Sorry,” I replied. “I am running a little late.”

“What are you having?”

“I think I am going to have two barbeque sandwiches and an order of fries,” I replied. “You get whatever you want. I have a tab here.”

Soon, the waitress arrived and we ordered our food. The waitress disappeared into the kitchen to place our order. There was an awkward silence as we both sat there for a moment. I looked out the window watching the cars pass on the busy highway and the many patrons coming to and fro from the convenience store across the street afraid to make eye contact.

“I don’t bite,” Wanda finally said breaking the silence and captured back my attention.

I smiled.

“I know,” I said. “You have to forgive me. I can be awkward in such one on one social situations.”

“You don’t act like you are,” She said. “You have such a pleasant speaking voice and seem so sure of yourself.”

I touched my finger to my temple and said, “It’s all up here.”

She laughed as she leaned across the table and quietly said out of earshot, “Honey, I am a little loco myself. I don’t think we could have drank like we have and not be a little crazy.”

Her saying that completely disarmed my social phobias. We sat for over thirty minutes after eating talking about A.A. and the various aspects of the program. She also has two dogs and we got on that subject as well.

“I expect you to have a sponsor in a few weeks,” Wanda finally told me before I was ready to head home and she had to go back to work.

“I will try,” I said halfheartedly with a lukewarm and uncomfortable smile.

The waitress brought our receipt and I placed a tip upon the table. I and Wanda got up to walk out of the restaurant.

“Let’s do this every week,” Wanda said.

“I would like that,” I replied. “I feel comfortable around you.”

“It’s just my charming personality and alluring wit,” Wanda said facetiously.

We both laughed. She gave me a hug and I drove home with a full stomach and a big smile on my face. My therapist told me that just enduring these social avenues would help me overcome my fears and she is right. It gets easier every time I try.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

A Fitting End to a Grand Day…

As I walked into tonight’s A.A. meeting, a chill was upon the air and the strong smell of brewing coffee accompanied it. Several members were watching the television in the front lounge as I passed on through to the meeting hall. They all greeted me as I said hello and good evening, and then I kept walking, avoiding the dreaded small talk.

I took a seat near the rear were I felt the most comfortable. You are less likely to be called upon to speak by overzealous chairpersons. Most of the people who attend these A.A. meetings smoke, and soon they poured into the room from the backdoor escaping the cold night air. The heavy smell of stale cigarette smoke hanging to everyone’s clothes wafted through the room on the cold wind from the open door.

“Everybody ready for a meeting?” The chairperson said as the low, steady drum of the many conversations quieted and people took their seats.

Tonight, Twitch was at the meeting. I call him Twitch in that he can’t sit still and makes me nervous. He constantly has to go to the bathroom, get up and stand in front of the gas fireplace, go pour another cup of coffee, or head outside for a quick cigarette. It is very distracting and most people are just too kind to say anything. He is an old timer with lots of sobriety, and garners a certain amount of respect from the group.

We were well into the meeting when another old timer leaned over to me and whispered, “Old ‘Twitch’ is awful nervous tonight, isn’t he?”

I chuckled quietly and nodded my head in agreement. Twitch had maybe gone out three times to smoke a cigarette, not able to sit still, and as many times to get a refill of coffee. Coffee was something he definitely didn’t need.

Finally, the meeting ended and a lady named Wanda came up to hug me. I really like Wanda. She is this very heavy set woman in her late forties and her demeanor is so disarming as far as my social phobias go.

“How have you been, honey?” She said with her arm around my shoulder as she looked at me and smiled. “Come on outside and smoke a cigarette with me. I ain’t letting you escape so easily tonight like you usually do.”

A great throng of people had formed outside on the back porch and near the barbeque pit to smoke cigarettes as is customary to do after a meeting.

“I get a lunch break tomorrow around noon. You want to meet me somewhere to eat?” Wanda asked me very forwardly.

I like forward people and they tend to cancel out my shyness with such affairs.

“Meet me over at Roger’s Barbeque and lunch will be on me,” I replied as I took another long drag from my little cigar and exhaled it out through my nose.

“Twelve ‘o’ clock?”

“Twelve ‘o’ clock,” I replied as I smiled.

“It’s a date then,” She said as she hugged me goodnight.

I walked on around the meeting hall and got in my car to drive home. I noticed through my windshield driving home that it was the first time I have seen stars in what has seemed like weeks. The weather has been so drab here. A beautiful country starry sky greeted me as I pulled onto spring road to have one more cigar before heading home. I rolled down my windows slightly and the briskly cold night air blew in. I could make out the dark silhouettes of many cows out in those dark pastures as I passed by as a bright blur on that long and winding country road. What a fitting end to what has been a grand day!

Miscellaneous Photos from Today…

A flowering shrub in my front yard.

These flowers in the daffodil family are blooming all over the place.

A sea of green and white mums.

Shafts of sunlight in my next door neighbor's garden.

Rosa to the Rescue…

“There is blood on your ass,” Rosa told me this morning.

I reached around to the back of my jeans and then looked at my fingers to find more blood. I had gone to get my injection of Risperdal this morning and the nurse must have hit a vein. I can’t explain the delayed effect of the blood.

I went inside the grocery store to the bathroom upstairs. I looked in the mirror and it was a rather small amount, but made a stain on my blue jeans. I bought some bandaids, put one on, and continued with my day. I fixed two cups of coffee in the employee’s lounge of the store and headed back out to carry one to Rosa.

“What are you going to do today?” I asked her as I sat back down upon the bench on the outside.

“I am going to enjoy this sunshine for as long as I can,” She replied.

“It is so nice, isn’t it?” I said as I smiled.

It felt rather balmy after being so dank, dreary, and cold for over a week.

“Will you take me down to Opelika?” She then asked.

“That’s a long drive,” I said “And I only have a half a tank of gas for the rest of the week.”

“I will put some gas in your car.”

“What time?” I then asked.

“Pick me up around noon,” She then said.

“Well, let me get home to get a shower and I will see you after lunch,” I replied.

I bid Rosa farewell and walked the ten minutes home. Rosa has the chance to get her license renewed after a suspension and you have to go to Opelika to get it done. I agreed to take her as my license is expired and I need to get it renewed as well. We will kill two birds with one stone. I will check back in probably this afternoon sometime.

Durex Condom Advertisement...

Singleness of Purpose…

I have a new dog. I have named the puppy Sam. I drove out spring road yesterday afternoon on my usual ride for photo opportunities. I wanted to get pictures of the many cows in the pastures, but they were far a flung in the remote pastures off the side of the road. As I neared where the road turns to dirt and gravel, a small dog that looked like a miniature golden retriever was wandering on the dirt portion of the road. I parked, got out, and called for it. It immediately came to me and hopped into the car. I brought it home and Maggie immediately was taken to it. The dog is currently sleeping in front of my heater which is on high and has made himself at home.

For those of you wanting to know about the kitten, the kitten only stayed a few days. Maggie was entirely too rough with it and would carry it around in her mouth like a stuffed toy. The kitten stayed continually wet from dog saliva. I had to find it a home due to fears that Maggie would hurt it.

Last night, I again wandered over to the A.A. meeting hall after dusk. We have two distinct A.A. groups that meet over at the meeting hall. One is very liberal and is dying due to lack of membership. I think one reason it is dying is that the group is so small and they put a lot of pressure on newcomers to talk. This makes me immensely uncomfortable when I go.

Last night, was the extremely conservative A.A. group which is thriving. It is filled with A.A. goers with years and years of sobriety. I find them a very close minded and stodgy group of fellows with only a scattering of females. The whole group consisted of pertaining to talk only about alcohol and the use thereof. Many people spoke of the “singleness of purpose” of A.A. I have found through my own travels of recovery that drinking was just a symptom of a greater sickness of the soul. I drank to hide my failings and to cover up these imperfections of my spirit. These are the things I needed to talk about. It is not allowed in last night’s group as they are very vocal about this “singleness of purpose” and sticking to it. I still go though as I find the social aspects to be beneficial although I mainly just sit there and listen.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Forecast Weather Models...

Some meteorologists are saying we are going to get cold air entrenched for February like we haven't seen since the mid-eighties. Here are what some latest GFS models are showing...

All the models are indicating very cold weather is on the way with good agreement. The above image is valid for today. We still have a strong subtropical jet over the south bringing rain to the lower regions of Alabama and the South.

The above model image for Monday the 29th shows the very cold arctic air starting to dip south over the great lakes region.

By February 3rd Sunday, the arctic blast is full underway and entrenched over much of the nation. With impulses following the southern jet over the south, the models are showing a good chance for snow somewhere in the Deep South. It could be as far north as Nashville or as far south as Montgomery.

Images courtesy of The National Weather Service.

A Deer in the Headlights…

I was standing in the produce section surveying the bananas. I am banana obsessed and will carefully spend five minutes picking the best bunch. It reminds me of the little old ladies we called “milk maids” when I worked in the grocery store. They would spend fifteen minutes trying to find the perfect gallon or half gallon of milk with the furthest date of expiration; often going through the whole case of milk.

“HEY ANDREW!!!” Rang out and startled me as I stood there.

I was so intent upon find the perfect bunch of bananas that I had lost all connection with reality. I quickly turned to look.

“Shit, Germaine. You scared me,” I replied as I laughed.

Germaine is this big hulking black fellow that went to high school with me. I often find him buying his groceries at the same time I do on Tuesday nights. Germaine is so big he can’t walk. He has to use one of those motorized scooters to get around.

“How is Alex doing?” Germaine asked of my brother.

Germaine always asks about my brother and has a slight infatuation with him.

“He is still a doctor in the Navy and living in San Diego. His birthday is coming up at the end of the month,” I replied.

“What did you get him for his birthday?”

“I sent him thirty dollars to get a nice shirt for work in a card,” I replied.

Germaine can talk for hours and hours and I dread getting caught by him. I started trying to find ways to get out of this conversation.

“Man, I have really got to go to the bathroom,” I said in desperation.

“Well, don’t shit in your pants. Go use the bathroom,” Germaine said as he smiled goofily.

I quickly lost track of my banana selection duties and briskly walked to the back of Kroger to the bathroom. I disappeared inside a stall, closed the toilet lid, and sat down. I had narrowly escaped another hour long encounter with Germaine. I sat for the longest time until I thought it was safe to make an appearance. I slowly opened the door to look out upon an almost empty store laid out in front of me. I then quickly finished my grocery shopping and headed home.

New schizophrenia treatment possible

This looks very promising. I am going to print it out and show it to my father. I wonder if there is a way to get in on this study. I need to call my brother...

TORONTO, Jan. 23 (UPI) -- Canadian researchers have discovered a dopamine signaling complex in the brain that might lead to a new treatment for schizophrenia.

The team, lead by Drs. Susan George and Brian O'Dowd of the Center for Addiction and Mental Health, said the complex is composed of two different types of dopamine receptors that might offer a new in understanding of schizophrenia.

"This distinct unit provides a novel signaling pathway through which dopamine can impact the function of brain cells," said George. "This is significant because signaling through calcium release is a major mechanism regulating many important functions in the brain and we have provided the first direct mechanism by which dopamine can activate a calcium signal."


Copyright 2007 by United Press International. All Rights Reserved.

Read the rest here from Science Daily.

Videos of St. Petersburg Authories Destroying Homeless Tents

These homeless people apparently had an agreement with the city to camp there. Fortunately, the good citizens of St. Petersburg donated new tents. The mayor ordered the tents torn down. He is still silent about the whole affair.

Videos and information thanks to Micheal Hussey of Tampa who writes the political blog Pushing Rope. Micheal is currently homeless in his city of residence.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Self Portrait...

Self portrait wearing my San Diego Chargers cap.

Cassini Space Probe Pictures of Jupiter...

Extremely high resolution image of Jupiter taken from the Cassini space probe. Click to enlarge for more detail.

As seen from the southern pole looking up.

Images courtesy of NASA.

Miscellaneous Photos from Today…

The camellia blossoms in the backyard.

Same image as above modified using the colored pencil tool in Photoshop. Click for a high resolution view.

Maggie has the right idea in front of the heater on her favorite chair (crystallized).

Football This and That…

I walked down to the shopping center to find the gang in full force this morning. Big S and Droopy were having an argument over whether the Saints should have gone to the Super Bowl.

“Dem Saints lost because of all those turnovers,” Big S said excitedly.

“Those Saints lost because they played crap football,” Droopy replied plainly.

I am not much of a pro football fan. Pro football lacks the panache and excitement of college ball. I will occasionally listen to a game on the radio as it lulls me to sleep, but never watch it on TV. I doubt I will watch the Super Bowl as well as the crass commercialism of it all gets on my last nerve.

George finally drove up giving some reprieve from Big S’s and Droopy’s banal conversation. I had never been so glad to see George. As he pulled up, a woman got out of his car to go in to buy her groceries. George seems to be back in the swing of things as far as work is concerned and is making good money again these days.

“Who’s up for a coffee?” I asked the fellows.

The resounding plea of, “ME!” rang out around me.

I walked down to the diner and ordered four cups of black coffee in a to-go carrier and walked back up to the shopping center. We all sat around on this briskly cold morning to talk.

“Why don’t you work?” Big S asked me as he took a drink of his coffee.

“Why don’t you work?” I replied unabashedly.

“It’s my back,” Big S said. “I can’t work because of a bad back.”

“That nigga ain’t never worked a day in his life.” George said as he laughed.

“I have a nervous condition.” Droopy chimed in.

“You always worked though.” I told Droopy. “You and I worked for years down at Martex.”

“I think I am going to retire soon,” George said as he laughed once more.

We all turned to look inquisitively at George.

“I am gonna move south out of this damn cold and live the life of retired nigga with lots of ladies. Hell, all you sons of bitches are on disability and social security. Why should I have to bust my ass off makin’ a dolla?”

Now, I don’t know about you, but George saying he was retiring was an interesting prospect. George really doesn’t do what I call work. He lives at home with his elderly mother. He doesn’t have any real bills other than gas for his car and money for booze and cigars. George already has a pretty good life. I guess retirement would be a life of luxury for him.

I finally finished my coffee and the cold was starting to get to me. I walked the ten minutes home after telling the gang goodbye. I had better things to do than to listen to Big S and Droopy argue about football. By this time, George had joined their banal conversation as well. George doesn’t even watch or is interested in football. He just wanted to argue for argument’s sake.

Too Funny...

All the Signs are Right…

We are in a perfect weather pattern for snow here in the Deep South. A raging subtropical jet continues to fly overhead bringing ample moisture into the area. The first of February seems to be looking good as far as cold shots of air coming from the far north in Canada.

I can remember the storm of the century in ’93. I was working as a fork lift driver in a towel warehouse for Martex. We had our biggest snow on record. I had a cat at the time and she jumped outside when I opened the door to check the weather. She disappeared in a snow drift that had banked upside my trailer. I remember picking her up and dusting the snow off as I laughed. She was thoroughly confused by the white stuff.

Will it snow after having not snowed here for seven long years? All the players are on the field. We just need a winter weather touchdown.

Images courtesy of

Monday, January 22, 2007


There is this one older woman who has been hanging out down at the shopping center lately. I have written about her before on occasion. She looks like she has lived such a tough life and I have a soft spot for her.

This morning I was walking across the bank parking lot down from the shopping center when Rosa spotted me. She made a beeline straight towards me.

“You got a cigarette?” She asked as she walked up.

“All I have is cigars,” I replied and she gratefully accepted.

I noticed how callous and cracked her hands were when she reached out for the cigar. She told how she hadn’t eaten since yesterday.

“Let’s walk over to the diner and eat a sausage, egg, and cheese biscuit,” I said.

We sat down and I ordered two biscuits and two coca-colas. Soon our food was ready and we sat eating. Rosa really started to open up to me once she realized I wanted nothing more than to eat breakfast with her.

“People always want something, ya know?” She said. “Nothings never for free.”

“I know. It is really sad,” I replied.

“You said once you were homeless,” She said.

“Yeah, I lived in a tent in the woods.”

“A regular Daniel Boone, eh?” She said as she laughed.

“Yeah, I guess you could say that.”

“What’s been going on with you if you don’t mind me asking,” I finally asked her.

“Oh just trying to stay clean and sober. I once was bad hooked on meth and crack,” She said. “It about killed me.”

“What made you quit?”

“I didn’t want to die,” She replied looking sullen. “I was going to smoke myself into an early grave.”

“That is a good enough reason to quit,” I said.

We finished our biscuits and drinks then she did something very unexpected as we were walking out of the diner’s parking lot. She hugged me.

“You’re alright,” She said as she smiled and we went our separate ways.

Sometimes, I get to feeling sorry for myself. I am an addicted schizophrenic man who lives on the razor’s edge of sanity some days. I thought of Rosa as I walked home realizing everything was going to be okay. That one hug and the breakfast with her had made my day. We can gain so much strength from others.

Treatment for homeless youth pays off in long run

With research showing that between 30% and 50% of homeless people have schizophrenia or other serious mental illnesses, this new study From Ohio State University that suggests that treatment for homeless youths is cost-effective in the long run is important because it indicates an investment in helping the homeless benefits all society. In this new Read full story...

Rides into the Country…

I couldn’t sleep tonight and drove most of the way out to God’s country to get my head out of the house. The rain harshly pattered on my windshield like sparkling balls of light in my high beams. I rounded the curve at one point to find a lone possum crossing the road in this driving rain. I slow down and let him pass. His eyes reflect my headlight beams casting a ghostly visage.

I arrive in God’s country to the little country road that leads to our pond. The rain has almost stopped. I get out and run in the rain to open the gate. The combination lock is the last four digits of my parent’s phone number. The heavy smell of wet pine is on the air.

When I was a child, this was always one of my favorite places to go. Memaw would pack me a lunch and I would set off to go fishing. Lazy summer days exploring the pond’s edge and the surrounding woods would find me. I would carefully watch that little cork in the water for signs of life as it bobbed and signaled a fish was on the line.

This morning, the pond looked so dark and foreboding; nothing like the memories of my youth. Of course, I picked a terrible time to ride over there. It was mainly for the drive and to just get out of the house. I finally got back in my car, locked the gate, and drove home. I was satisfied with this morning ride to God’s country.

Today’s Blogging Roundup…

Annabel got hit with a lot of snow in Texas and is getting ready for another week of work. There is no harder working woman than she. Be safe on your drive in this morning. Pipe Tobacco is feeling a certain malaise that I wish I could bring him out of. It pains me for him to have such emotional and turbulent times in his life. Proxima got some very disturbing news about her eyesight. Please head over and show her some support.

Cheryl had an enjoyable weekend hanging at her end of the week coffee shop. This has grown to be one of my favorite blogs. Mosaic Mind got laid off from her job, but seems to be bouncing back. It is nice to read her life becoming more routine and normal again. Abbagirl also got a lot of snow in Kansas and then went on a mission to make a positive impact at work. I am proud of her. She sure is a swell gal.

The Homeless Guy is bitching about the “free” laundry service that churches administer. That guy sure does have some balls. Liz is getting ready to move back to the states from Germany. She has a young child and lots of responsibility upon her. I hope the move goes smoothly. Austere is having computer problems and we hope she is back to posting soon.

Well, that ends today’s blogging round up. If I missed you, don’t feel bad. I just read too many blogs to list them all.

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Toodling Around…

This evening found me toodling around in my den after eating supper. I cooked beef tips in a mushroom sauce, roasted potatoes, and green beans. There seems to be some normalcy returning to Casa de Andrew.

Normally, when I come out of one of my “funks” the house is a mess. This time, I managed to stay remarkably clean with the only chaos being the two bags of trash sitting by the backdoor. A quick vacuum of the floor and emptying the trash tidied up things quite nicely.

To my friend Kristen, thank you for calling. I could hear your messages being left as I laid in the bed. I didn’t feel well enough to talk on the phone though. Thank you for being such a good friend. It probably wouldn’t have been a very coherent conversation anyway on my part. I do care about you very much and hope my silence didn’t hurt your feelings.

Speaking of my father, he came by tonight.

“You’ve been very quiet for a few days,” He said. “I am just checking up on you.”

I had never seen a more welcome and comforting sight than his Honda sitting in my driveway. I told him about applying for and getting the credit card.

“Credit is not a good idea on your income, don’t you think?” He said and I agreed.

He watched as we made a ceremony of tearing it up. I had only spent $27 dollars on the card anyway to fund tonight’s supper. I actually felt a sigh of relief as all the plastic fell to the bottom of my trashcan. The interest on those cards is highway robbery.

My Dad then gave me a long hug as he said goodbye to drive down to his pharmacy to work his usual Sunday night shift.

“Thanks for the quiet past few weeks,” He told me.

It has been quiet. We will just chalk up the past few days as bumps in a long and winding road. It is good to feel okay again. The good times do outweigh the bad times far more these days of finding medications that work. Previously, I have would have slept for four days straight so things are getting better.

Odds and Ends…

The ABC 33/40 weather blog has some interesting outlooks for the long term for us. They say this winter is setting up to give us a good snow due to what they are calling “The Pineapple Express.” I can picture throngs of people stampeding the local supermarkets for bread and milk as I write this.

This evening brought a quiet resolve out of me – to get out of this damnable house at the nearest opportunity. Every time I go to leave, something catches my attention on the internet and I end up reading for another hour. The steady pouring rain outside my windows doesn’t help my resolve, either.

When I get to feeling like I have lately, I want the comforting and reassuring presence of my father. I almost called several times, but have to be careful. I hate to burden my family with my mental issues. I don’t want to be seen as crying out for attention. I wanted Dad to hug me and tell me everything was going to be okay. Schizophrenia is such an alienating disease.

George came by this evening and “reborrowed” the twenty bucks he gave me earlier. George made me burst out laughing when he jokingly said….

“It could be worse. You could be sleeping with a crack head.”

“I just don’t get you and Pookie,” I replied as I laughed.

George had a point. My life would get infinitely more complicated with a Pookie in it. George had already had a few and I could smell it on his breath. If you are a “sober” alcoholic then there is no more revolting smell than sour beer breath.

“The Homeless Man” rejoins the living…

“You look like a homeless man,” George told me this afternoon.

George paid me the twenty dollars he owed me and I walked into the bathroom to check my appearance. I hadn’t shaved in three days and was certainly looking worse for wear. There was also a large stain on my shirt that I put on three long days ago.

“You need a drink,” George replied after I walked out of the bathroom.

“Don’t tempt me today,” I replied snidely. “Besides, they don’t sell beer here on Sundays.”

“It is only a ride down the interstate,” George said. “I’m driving.”

“I don’t want to have to fund my own demise,” I replied. “You are just out of money.”

George reached into his wallet showing me two twenty dollar bills.

“I can’t,” I replied sullenly. “I don’t remember much of what happened for three days and drinking will only make things worse.”

George left me to travel down the Interstate to buy his beer. I peeled off my dirty clothes and took a hot shower.

“I’ve got to get some food in me,” I said after not eating for three days.

I don’t feel like cooking so I pop one of my frozen meals in the microwave. I start to feel human again after that shower and shave. I choke the food down and then sit in my lazy boy thinking of George and that beer. I shrug off those thoughts as I mull over my homeless days in my mind. That was one cold winter I want to forget, but it makes me remember how far I have come. One day at a time…that’s all I’ve got.

Stormy Days…

I write the title of this post figuratively. It has been a stormy few days mentally. It is times like this that I am bereft of words; not knowing what to say.

I did continue my morning hike today. This morning found me at the shopping center sitting with Big S.

“It is supposed to rain today,” I told him.

“I will be home long before that happens,” He replied blithely.

“How much have you made today?” I then asked him always curious about his panhandling activities.

“Ten bucks,” He replied.

“I don’t see how you do it,” I said as I laughed.

“Little old ladies,” Big S said as he grinned.

I don’t condone Big S’s method of garnering income. I left Big S sitting out in front of the store and walked down to the train tracks. My good fortune found me walking up just as a train was passing. I smiled. Today is going to be okay.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Maggie and Bunny...

Maggie with Bunny on the floor.

Calls in the Night…

It is 1 A.M. I am talking on the phone with Carolyn. Despite her breaking up with me, she still calls me every night. We are like an old married couple whose presence aggravates each other, but we can’t let go and say goodbye. Tonight, she can’t sleep and knew I would be up. I keep such odd hours.

“I can’t sleep and will feel awful at work tomorrow,” She says. “I feel like utter crap.”

“Sorry to hear that,” I say quietly as I listen.

I am bitter, angry, and hurt. These calls do not help. I feel like I am being used.

“What did you do yesterday?” She asks trying to quell the silence and the awkwardness of it.

“I and George rode down to Auburn,” I replied.

“You know I don’t like you hanging out with him,” She says. “He is trouble waiting to happen.”

I yawn and stay quiet. I do not want to go through this same old argument one more time.

“Why are you so quiet?”

“I am tired and sleepy,” I reply.

“I miss you.”

Silence… I am too hurt to answer.

“I need to go to bed,” I say.

“Will you call me tomorrow?” She asks.

“I am confused by all of this,” I reply. “Let’s just lay low for awhile.”

“Okay,” She says sounding dejected as we say goodnight and hang up the phone.

I go lie down on the bed and sob softly as Maggie curls up by my side. It has never been so hard for me to say goodbye to someone. I finally thought I had found someone who could understand me and my illness, but she is like the rest; close minded; petty; judgmental.

“You will always love me, won’t you girl?” I ask Maggie as I pet her.

Maggie sighs softly and moves closer to me. I lay for the longest time in my darkened and quiet bedroom listening to her breathe. It is a comforting and reassuring sound. Life goes on as it always has. Time will heal all wounds. Tomorrow brings a new day and the hurt is lessened.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

A Journey into Town…

I rode with George down to Auburn this afternoon. George was in fine form and was cutting up and acting silly. I was hesitant to ride in George’s beat up, old Dodge Diplomat that far, but it got us there and back. I thought it was going to fly apart going down the interstate at seventy miles per hour. It certainly sounded like it was.

I and George ate supper at the Western Sizzlin’ in Opelika just up the interstate from Auburn. We both ordered sirloin steaks and a baked potato. The waitress was acting very flirty with me and actually gave me her phone number written down on a piece of paper. She told me to call her tonight so we could get to know each other better. I am so shy though and probably won’t call seeing that I am coming off the heels of another failed relationship.

On the ride home, George asked me all kinds of questions about my mental illness. I only revealed its true nature to him recently. He says I can act strange sometimes and I explained to him why.

“Do you hear and see shit?” George asked.

“Sometimes,” I replied. “Especially when I am not taking my medications.”

“What do you see?”

“I see what I call ghosting,” I replied. “Everything has an aura around it.”

“Doesn’t that freak you out?” George then asked.

“Sometimes it does,” I said. “I am pretty used to it though. I often see what looks like black and white holograms of cats laying around the house.”

“Damn, that’s freaky,” George replied.

“Yeah, that is why I take a lot of medications,” I told George. “Sometimes the medications are worse than the disease especially the time they put me on Haldol. I thought I was going to jump out of my skin.”

“I think psychiatry is a bunch of bullshit,” George replied.

“Well, psychiatry changed my life for the better,” I said. “I wouldn’t be able to do what we did today if it were not for my medications.”

George then swung into Perlis’ Truck Stop to buy some beer and corn chips.

“I am driving,” I told him as he walked back to the car.

“A six pack is not going to get me drunk,” George said.

“Well, I sure as hell ain’t taking any chances,” I said as I climbed into the driver’s seat as George handed me his keys. “Hell, you don’t even have a license and shouldn’t be driving anyway.”

The rest of our ride home was uneventful and quiet as George drank his beer, ate his Fritos, and we listened to the radio. I dropped George off at his house and walked the rest of the way home. Man, was it a cold walk that I hadn’t planned on. I only had a light jacket with me. I was glad to be inside and turned the heat on high and have been basking in its warmth all evening.

Interesting Weather on the Way…

The temperature has really dropped after sunset. We have a large swath of precipitation moving in from Mississippi that will most likely cause evaporational cooling. This will push our temperatures down to around freezing. The National Weather Service has issued a special weather statement for our area.

What it looked like in Dallas, Texas after this same storm. Pictures by Kevin Selle, chief meteorologist for Texas Cable News Network in Dallas:

Into the Night, Glibly I Go…

George came over late last night. I was sitting at my computer reading. The knock on the door startled me. I wasn’t expecting company so late.

“Hey George,” I said as I opened my door and he walked inside.

“I hate to ask you this,” George said. “But I be needin’ to borrow twenty dollars.”

I walked into my bedroom to grab my wallet and gave George the twenty dollars. One thing about George is that he always pays me back.

“What happened to that chick you used to be dating?” George then asked me.

“That’s a sore spot with me and I would rather not talk about it,” I told him.

“She sure was pretty,” George replied.

“She thought you were a bad influence upon me,” I said.

George laughed.

“She dumped me,” I finally told George. “I guess she thought I was too crazy to deal with.”

“You ain’t crazy,” George replied.

George ended up staying for quite a long time until I got too sleepy to stay up any longer. We sat and watched TV as we talked. I like it when George is sober. He is so much more pleasant to be around. He acts so silly when he is drinking and it gets tiresome.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

What's that Pinging noise on the Hood of my Car?

Winter precipitation is something we rarely see in the South. It sleeted for quite awhile this afternoon. Here's to hoping we have an interesting night of weather ahead. The slightest amount of the white stuff of any form falling out of the sky makes me giddy with glee like a small child in anticipation of getting to stay home from school due to a snow day.

Image courtesy of The National Weather Service.

Internal Battle of the Wills…

I couldn’t sleep this morning. I made my way down to Fat Albert’s in a steady rain. Out of habit, I walked over to the beer cooler and stood there looking at the rows upon rows of beer and malt liquor.

“It’s kind of early to be drinking beer, don’t cha think?” Rang out, startling me, and bringing me out of my beer induced trance.

I turned to look and the manager was standing there with a mop in hand.

“You are Carolyn’s boyfriend, aren’t you?” She then asked.

“We are no longer dating,” I replied.

“Sorry to hear that,” She said. “Carolyn was one of our best workers. We all miss her.”

I left the manager and walked over to fix a coffee and then to the counter to get what I originally came for.

“Two cartons of Smoker’s Choice little cigars lights 100s please,” I said.

The clerk grabbed two cartons and rung me up.

“That will be $21.50,” She replied.

I handed over my money and grabbed the plastic bag of cigars. I made my way out to the car as the rain still steadily poured. My hands were shaking and I placed my forehead upon the steering wheel as I let out a deep sigh.

“One day at a time,” I whispered. “You only have to not drink one day at a time.”

I finally regained my composure and drove the short drive home with thoughts of alcohol and inebriated bliss upon my mind. My internal battle of the wills is still waging as I write this. Does it ever get easier? I do hope so.


Earth as seen from 4 billion miles away, photographed by Voyager 1 on June 6, 1990.

Of the "pale blue dot," astronomer Carl Sagan said, "That's here. That's home. That's us. On it everyone you love, everyone you know, everyone you ever heard of, every human being who ever was, lived out their lives. The aggregate of our joy and suffering, thousands of confident religions, ideologies, and economic doctrines, every hunter and forager, every hero and coward, every creator and destroyer of civilization, every king and peasant, every young couple in love, every mother and father, hopeful child, inventor and explorer, every teacher of morals, every corrupt politician, every 'superstar,' every 'supreme leader,' every saint and sinner in the history of our species lived there — on a mote of dust suspended in a sunbeam.

Monday, January 15, 2007

Hardware in the Night…

I awoke at 3 A.M. and sleepily pulled on some shorts and a t-shirt. Maggie was laying at the foot of my bed chewing on one of her rawhide bones. I started some coffee and walked into my den to begin a new computer project. I replaced the motherboard and processor in my server and set up four 60 GB hard drives in a RAID 0 array. I then reinstalled windows which took an hour.

Dawn arrived and I headed out for my daily hike of three miles. It was a very overcast day obscuring the rising sun much to my chagrin. The cold air is supposed to pour in tonight followed by a day of rain. I knew I better enjoy today’s hike while I could. Tomorrow will be a day shut inside due to the weather.

On the last leg of my hike, I walked up past the shopping center to find Dumpster Diving Dan doing what he normally does. I stopped to talk to him.

“What have you found this morning?” I asked.

“Go look in my truck,” He replied.

I walked over and on the seat were Dan’s dog that was sleeping peacefully and a plastic bag of what looked like granny smith apples.

“Those will make a fine apple pie once I cut out all the blemishes and brown spots,” He said.

I lit up a cigarillo and Dan asked me if he could have one as well.

“I didn’t know you smoked,” I said surprised.

“I am too cheap to buy them, but will smoke one if offered,” Dan replied as he grinned.

Dan let down the tailgate of his truck and we sat on it as we talked. Our conversation wandered towards AA and why Dan quit going.

“I just no longer felt the need to go,” Dan said. “The compulsion to drink left me in my later years.”

“You drank heavy after coming home from Vietnam, didn’t you?” I asked.

“Those were dark times best forgotten,” Dan replied with a sad look on his face.

“I didn’t mean to make you uncomfortable by bringing that up,” I said.

“Oh, don’t worry about it,” Dan replied. “I just don’t like talking about it. It seems like another life.”

I finally bid Dan goodbye and walked the short distance up the road to my house. Dan had said he was going to bring me by a piece of pie tomorrow. I am not sure if I want to eat pie made from apples that were thrown away in a dumpster. I guess I will gratefully accept the gift and Maggie will have a sweet treat. She will eat anything as long as it is not moving. Good day.

Amazing Images of Comet McNaught...

Images courtesy of

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Light Blogging Today...

I went rummaging through the many boxes of my belongings under the basement and found this. I have an enjoyable Sunday afternoon planned of playing Zelda: The Wind Waker and Metroid Prime. Blogging is going to be light today.