Monday, November 10, 2008

Quaker Parakeet Saves Toddler's Life

One of Cracker's distant relatives helped save a 2 year old's life by alerting her babysitter that she was choking. I literally had tears in my eyes watching this clip.

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(C)2003-2008, Bob K Mertz - Some Rights Reserved

Sunday, May 25, 2008

What's up with Bob?

It's been a while since I made a post that was really about me and what's going on with me. I think that the biggest reason for this is because I have Twitter now so people get the play by play and I can vent all through my day and, as a result, my blog has kind of focused more on the in-depth thoughts that go through my mind. I think that maybe I should just do a general update so the 1 or 2 people that actually read my blog have an idea of what is going on.

First of all, I am now 28 since yesterday was my birthday. It was, again, a heavy reminder of how much my family means to me. At midnight my mom, dad, and sisters raced to make sure they were the first ones to get a happy birthday wish to me via SMS. Well, my dad and Kari were disqualified because of a false start (I got their text at 11:59 on Friday night), Lori was the first and then my mom was second. I also got a birthday card from my grandparents. I'm honestly really glad that I had those because that was the only birthday wishes that I received with the exception of one that kind of shocked me but made me smile. There were a few messages that I got on Facebook and I totally do appreciate them but its tough that none of my "real life" friends thought to wish me a happy birthday. The one other real life wish I got? It was Tiff.... I hadn't talked to her for months and since we broke up years ago I think there were only a handful of times that we actually talked on IM. It was nice to know that I still exist to her and it really did mean a lot. Anyway, it's not the end of the world that no one wished me a happy birthday because it really is just another day (I worked anyway -- nothing special). People forget -- and I'm just as guilty of forgetting things like that.... There are a few people that I thought would have that didn't and then the last person I expected did..... Oh well.

So yea, I'm 28.... it's still something that is hard for me to comprehend. I still don't think it's fully registered in my mind that I own a house and that I run my own business. Actually, aside from the fact that my body is falling apart, I still don't feel like I'm an adult. My body definately knows it tho..... I grew up yelling at my mom for always taking Ibuprofen and now I carry a bottle in my pocket. Mentally I'm doing ok, I guess. There have been a lot of really trying things recently and sometimes I don't fully understand what my place is and why I am where I am but then I usually remember shortly after that God is in control of all of this. I've been having a few "down spells" but they typically only last a few hours and they really aren't anything drastic at all..... My emotions have been going through weird changes tho. I think it's weird how I've recently started feeling about certain things and certain people. I have noticed that I am developing a deeper care for people in general. That leads to the next new thing in my life.....

On Monday I was accepted as a member of the Linden Volunteer Fire Department. I received my gear and did some training on the trucks and breathing equipment on Friday night. Soon I will start about 6 months of classes to become a certified firefighter. This coming Saturday will be my CPR training and then I will be officially able to ride the truck and go on calls. I will not be able to enter burning buildings until I get my certification but I will be able to go to motor vehicle accidents, brush fires, and I'll actually be able to go to structure fires but can only help outside of the building. It's something that I am actually really excited about but I'm also extremely apprehensive of the things that I know I will be encountering such as dead bodies and mangled bodies. I've already heard a lot of what people have seen and it's going to be really tough for me but it's something that I know I need to deal with because there are people that need my help. Maybe I'll encountered people that I can't help and that will be tough on me but I can't just not become a firefighter and not be there for the people that has lives that I might be able to save. I guess that's the biggest reason why I joined.... because there are people that I might be able to help and, to me, helping others is the most important thing in my life and I think it's something that should be important to everyone else too. We're all in this world together and we can all get through it easier the more that we work together.

Another interesting thing that I never thought I would ever be saying is that I am looking at the possibility of getting a motorcycle or scooter. I honestly didn't think it was something that I would be able to do because of the fact that my dad was in a serious motorcycle accident in 1985 and was given only a 10% chance of living. He is very apprehensive about anything motorcycle related (understandably so) and he has had some panic issues and it's not something that I would want to put him through but he said that he thinks he can handle it and yesterday we were actually talking about different bikes and stuff and I think that may have helped because I could hear some excitement in his voice. I know it was always a passion of his so maybe he is somewhere excited that I'll be riding undeneath all of the fear that has come as a result of his accident. To be quite honest, it's not something that I really want to be doing but this is really coming out of necessity. Gas is up to about $3.85 around my house and it's hit well over $4 in most places that I go and I simply just can't afford this. I drive about 600 miles a week on average so the gas prices are a HUGE impact on my life. I was looking at a Kawasaki Ninja 250R which, from some reviews I read, can get up to 75mpg and it's also one of the few 250cc bikes that can actually keep up with any traffic. My dad also said that my uncle has a Suzuki 350 from the 80's that he might be able to sell cheap but that's going to depend on what the gas mileage of it is.... From what I had looked at related to current bikes the Suzuki's really didn't get good gas mileage at all. Sure, they got GREAT reviews on reliability and performance but those are the least of my concerns. We'll see where it goes, I guess. I still need to get to the DMV and take the motorcycle test and get the endorsements and such. Not sure where all of this will end up but the fact that its a very strong consideration of mine is, well, totally unexpected by me or anyone else. I guess it's true that mother necessity produces the best results.

The birds are still doing well. Last week I started leaving them out of their cage around the clock. They still stay in their room, of course, but I'm not putting them in their cages at night anymore. I'm hoping that in the next couple of months I might be able to get some money and time to start converting the small bedroom into an aviary type room. Basically I just want to have non-carpted floors and I want to put a lot of ropes and stuff for them to climb and I also would like to seal the floor and walls and allow for a shower head type thing so that they can play in the water when they want.... it would probably be something I'd put on a timer somehow.... I also want to put some decent air filters in the room and ventilation, etc.... You think that dogs and cats are bad with pet dander? Try 3 birds. I really want to get started on that but money is really tight. We'll see what happens.

Business is doing pretty well, I guess. I picked up a couple new customers which may not have a lot of work for me but at least it's something and, of course, they can always grow into needing more work. I'm really not sure where Ransom Tech Services is going to end up but all I really want from it is to pay the bills. It would be nice if it would grow a little bit and I might consider taking on another employee or two if it would grow but those aren't things that I'm really looking at right now... I just want to be there as much as I can be for my customers. My feelings on business are that having good relationships and almost friendships with your customers is the best thing you can do and that's exactly how I want to keep Ransom Tech.

I guess that's really about all. I am still trying to figure out where God wants me as far as churches are concerned but I already blogged about that a little bit ago and there isn't really much to report.

I hope everyone has a really great Memorial Day!

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(C)2003-2008, Bob K Mertz - Some Rights Reserved

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Giving birds vitamins (in a way they love)

I have sworn by Hagen Prime because of the mixture of vitamins in it as well as the fact that it also provides amino acids and other things that birds need which most supplements don't include. My cockatiel has always been especially picky with eating and I had resorted to mixing Prime in all of my birds' water dishes but it can sometimes create an unpleasant odor after some time and with 2 of my 3 birds loving to dunk their food in their water it got ugly after less than a day at times. I tried putting the powder on top of certain treats but they were smart enough to eat around the powder. I finally came to this conclusion.

Get a slice of bread (See Note Below) and sprinkle about a tablespoon of Hagen Prime all over the slice and then rub it in with your fingers making sure that the entire face of the bread is covered. Seal the slice in a zip lock bag and leave it sit for at least a few hours or overnight. Because of the contents of the powder and the moisture in the bread the soluable parts of the Prime work their way into the bread reducing the areas that the bird can eat around. Once it's disolved overnight you can break off a small peice of the bread and feed it to your bird and then refrigerate the rest in the zip lock bag.

Important notes about bread:

First of all it is important to understand that bread it's self has health benefits for birds such as calcium and fiber, however, you have to remember that most breads contain yeast and will generally expand in the stomach. Because of this you do not want to feed your bird a large amount of bread. If you were to give your bird an entire slice of bread he may eat more than he should. This is especially true with smaller birds such as cockatiels.

Secondly, you can use pretty much any bread for this that you'd like but I use Potato bread for a couple of reasons (other than the fact that I usually have it). Because of the potato mixture of the bread it remains lighter and fluffier and holds moisture longer. As a result it absorbs the prime better than white bread (as far as I've noticed).

I'm sure there are some wild opinions on the use of certain types of bread because of sugars and such. In my opinion, however, the amount of sugars and other "non-healthy" substances in a tiny peice of bread is low enough that it won't make much difference. My birds absolutely love this, seemingly even more than plain bread at times. The Prime does have a pleasant scent and taste for birds so I'm sure that helps.

Any comments on this are welcomed! If you have birds and try this, please leave a comment and let me know how they like it.

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(C)2003-2008, Bob K Mertz - Some Rights Reserved

Friday, April 25, 2008

Lisa layed eggs

It seems there always something new around the corner to be learned and its funny how sometimes you know things can and probably will happen but you seem unconcerned until it does happen. The last couple of days Lisa had been acting.... well, just not herself. Today I took her outside for a while and she was a lot more aggitated than she had been before.... when I took her in to the bird room she flew to her cage -- which is somewhat odd. I just now noticed that back in the corner of the cage there are 2 eggs that she had layed. This explains a lot.

A little information about cockatiels is that they usually will still lay unfertile eggs even if they don't have a mate and, as with a human mother, this is an emotional period. The thing that I need to do is figure out if she realizes that the eggs are unfertile or not. Even if she does know it its important to allow her to become bored and uninterested before I remove the eggs. Its crazy.... *I* feel bad that they arent fertile eggs. It would be totally awesome to have little baby cockatiels but that would, of course, be a lot of work for me if I wanted to hand feed them.

Should be an interesting week or so for me....

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(C)2003-2008, Bob K Mertz - Some Rights Reserved

Thursday, April 03, 2008

Living for life

I still think it is amazing to watch how animals behave. There are distinct ways of telling when an animal is happy and when an animal is upset. While I don't think that animals experience emotions, per se, I do believe they experience euphoric states as well as states of fear. I love watching Lisa go about different things and just by watching her feathers and the position her crown is pointing, I almost instinctively know how she is feeling. I also know the reaction when I give Lisa her favorite egg crunch treat or I give Bacardi peanuts or I give Cracker, well, anything edible :)

I also think about the joy of seeing a newborn or seeing a child learn all of the amazing mysteries of this world. To a 2 year old a yoyo is an amazing thing and there is this desire to learn about the world - and we smile at watching that amazement. That same 2 year old doesn't understand that she shouldn't put the yoyo in her mouth. Eventually she grows up and learns that its wrong and figures out that she, too, can make a yoyo go up and down on her own and suddenly that amazing toy is now just a boring piece of plastic on a string.

What is it that turns something so exciting into something boring? Its the lack of wonder or mystery. With my birds I need to give them new toys and I need to confuse them so they have something entertaining to figure out - and one of the best ways to do this is to create foraging situations which is basically making them work for their food and figure out how to get it.

In almost all cases we will see an underlying need for survival in just about everything. The greatest sci fi and mystery films all have an aspect of a human surviving. Make a sci fi about someone that can't find an object (that's not crucial to their life) and you have a poor movie.

What is it that differs between us and animals? And does that difference mean we're better off or is it just something that simply makes us different. One of the fundamental differences is that Adam and Eve ate of the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil. But why is it that this tree was the subject of a curse? Isn't that knowledge good to have?

Consider this. In the Bible sin is not based on laws in the new testament but on what is in someone's heart. Basically this means that if you don't know something is a sin then it really is not committing a sin if you do whatever it is. So one could come to the conclusion that if we didn't have the knowledge of good and evil then we obviously could not sin. And yes, this is why dogs can hump anything and still go to heaven. They don't need to be judged because there is no right or wrong to them. If Adam and Eve hadn't eaten the fruit then the result would be that permarital sex would not be a sin. The sex the human race would have would be completely different but it would still be euphoric.

So why is foraging such a great way to keep birds entertained? Simply because food is essential to life. When you hide food then they have a desire to find it because they need to survive. When they find it, it is euphoric. Sex is essential to life so when animals mate it is euphoric because it is carrying on the race. Seeing a newborn baby is euphoric because its our race continuing.

The problem that us humans have is that we are so confused by things going on because we now have a "logic center" that has to weigh the appropriateness of each situation before acting upon it and to further confuse that the same logic system is trained by those who came before us using their logic system. Every generation that goes by we get further and further away from who God intended us to be. I believe we were created very similar to animals in that we were not intended to have this logic system - we were intended to live for life. The simple things in life are what are supposed to make us happy. Simply surviving another day is meant to be exciting. Every generation that goes by we're seeing more and more distortment of what life is supposed to be. In today's world our logic systems are telling us that we need to do everything that our boss says no matter what because we can't survive without that job but we just end up living for our boss instead of life its self. We need to drive nice cars in order to be worth something and we need $100k salaries in order to "make it". All of these are the result of our twisted logic.

Most of the world no longer lives life for life. We regress more and more in life the more we progress in society. We are all losing the fact that we are all a team and the greatest way to survive is to work together instead of rising above others in order to survive. We see more and more acts of greed and we covet things more and more. We have truly lost what it means to live and yet we spend so much time figuring out the meaning of life - as we drive by someone stranded on the side of the road. Afterall, according to our logic system, our life can't continue if we don't hurry up and get to work to make money.

Our world is not going to get any better until we all start living life for life. If we can start to realize that survival is survival as the human race and that with that survival comes euphoria and happiness then we might have a shot at making this world a better place. We need to live life for life in general rather than just for our own lives..... This is where we find the meaning of life and become happier people.

Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

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(C)2003-2008, Bob K Mertz - Some Rights Reserved

Monday, February 18, 2008

Lisa going outside

Today was a really beautiful day and I had recently got harnesses for each of my birds so I thought I'd attempt using at least one of them. I started with Cracker which didn't go so well. Surprisingly she really bite me hard at all - well at least considering she probably has the strongest beak of my 3 birds but its thankfully dull. I had it on her twice but couldn't get it adjusted right so I figured if let her relax. I brought Lisa into the living room and wow that went even less smooth. Fortunately I got it on her after about a half hour and after another 15 mins she was.... Well, tolerating it. We headed outside and she was real alert, of course. She really started relaxing and enjoying it. We went for about a 45 min walk. It was actually a really great afternoon. I took this picture which I absolutely love.

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(C)2003-2008, Bob K Mertz - Some Rights Reserved

Friday, August 24, 2007

Last night I got a parakeet that wasn't doing too well but was the cutest little boy in the world. He was so sweet. This morning he was curled up in the corner of his box and I gave him a pet and he moved but he wasn't very active.... He passed about an hour ago.... I didnt even have him for 24 hours and I'm a wreck.... when the time comes for Lisa, Cracker, or Bacardi to pass I really pray that there are people around me..... I can't even imagine

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(C)2003-2008, Bob K Mertz - Some Rights Reserved

Saturday, May 05, 2007

My new pet, "Cracker"

Someone brought her into the pet store a while ago because she was lonely and plucking out her feathers. Chances are many of those feathers will not grow back and no one really showed much of an interest in her. At the store, however, I was the only person that Cracker consistently would go to and be ok with so it just seemed natural that I needed to take her home. I had Lisa's old cage so all I really had to buy was some perches and such. Lisa isnt all that happy but I think in the long run they will get used to chatting with each other through the day when I'm at work which should ultimately be better for both of them. Cracker does say a few words which is kind of cool and while she is an aggressive bird, she is also very sweet.

We'll see how the next few days go :)

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(C)2003-2008, Bob K Mertz - Some Rights Reserved

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Tonight was horrible.... I was working at our Elden street store and I had a cockatiel out that was supposed to have had her wings clipped by the lady who sold her to us.... well, I didnt really get good feelings about that lady but that's beside the point.... I was giving this cockatiel some attention and next thing you know she is flying around the store like crazy. Once we got her, I figured her wings needed clipped.... when I looked at her wings it was obvious that they had already been clipped but not done properly.... I clipped her one wing with no issues at all.... then moved the other one.... she freaked out and my heart sunk.... her other wing was blood feathers..... I just wanted to cry.... For about the next half hour I had to hold her still while holding a paper towel on her wing.... it was one of the most horrible things I've had to do in a while.... After that I watched her for a little bit and eventually she decided to flutter her wings.... all of a sudden blood went everywhere.... finally I called Jay (my manager at the other store -- a very knowledgeable bird person) and he came over to take a look.... she's doing just fine and it really isnt something incredibly drastic and it is something that you can sometimes get confused with --- but I still feel horrible.... She really is an incredibly sweet bird tho.... even after all the trauma she still wanted me to pet her and give her attention.

.... now if I could only find a human that would want the same

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(C)2003-2008, Bob K Mertz - Some Rights Reserved

Monday, January 29, 2007

What a day.... go into work and get told that something is wrong with our central system in the fish room which controls the filtration for 75% of our tanks.... the pH was below 6.0 (dont know exactly because test kits don't test that low) and ammonia was up at 4ppm.... for those who don't know, THATS BAD.... quite a few tanks had ich problems..... so was the next few hours of my life....

then the male cockatiel I have been trying to tame decided to bite my lip.....

and THEN our sun conyur decided to bite my cheek and leave me bleeding slightly for a minuet.... really, its an experience......

Honestly tho.... I had a good day.... this morning I was feeling really crappy but things turned around.

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(C)2003-2008, Bob K Mertz - Some Rights Reserved

(C)2008, Bob K Mertz - Some Rights Reserved
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