Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Homed

The details of the excruciating events leading up to this moment, I'll save for another post. But to let you know, I did move into an apartment yesterday afternoon. It is a tiny place - could fit the entire thing in the living room I had in my last apartment. But my last apartment was 3 years ago. Though while in it, those three years dragged on. But now one step removed, it moved by fairly rapidly. That may be just from the perspective of my advanced age. I'm now 47 years old. How three years can seem like nothing, sometimes!

The location is very good. It is close enough to downtown that I can walk to the library and church. And it is on a bus line, so if it's raining, or I can't walk, for whatever reason, I have that convenience. This little strip of apartments is on the edge of a notoriously dangerous drug infested neighborhood. Yet a lot has been done to clean up the area in the past couple years. Last night people did come knocking at my door at 1:30am. No, I didn't answer it. From what I heard, the last person to live in that unit was dealing drugs. It will take some time before people learn to go elsewhere. I'm not sure what I can do about it in the mean time. Stay away from the apartment myself during those hours, I guess.

Within just a couple of blocks of my place there is a Walgreens drug store, a Krystals, a Sonics, A Burgerking and a Subway. The nearest grocery store is miles away. Cafe Coco is only a 15 minute walk away. Baptist Hospital is closer. The State Capitol building is one mile away.

Looks like I need just about everything for this place. But it's a small place, so I don't need much of everything! The first things that come to mind:

cleaning supplies
mini vacuum
mop
twin size blanket
sheets
towels for shower
shower curtain
pots and pans
toaster oven (no microwave oven for me please)
cooking and eating utensils
ice trays
drink cups (large)
water filter
coffee maker
food
(I can't have any pets)

The living room and bed room are the same room. What I would eventually like to do is get rid of the mattress and get a futon mattress, without the frame. I'd just put the mattress on the floor at night, and fold it up and keep it stuffed in a closet during the day.

And I'd like to hang decorative rugs to hide the ugly walls and for soundproofing.

There is a window with mini blinds on it, but I think people could still see in, so I'd like to put some kind of curtain up, in addition to the blinds. It's a small window.

There is very little storage space, and that may be good, cause I don't want to collect a lot of stuff. I don't plan on being at this place more than a year. But I still need a way to store things - like those milk crates people steal from grocery stores. I could hide a stack of those behind a rug.

Again, this place is small - perhaps only 200 square feet.

Ok, well it's time to go meet with my case manager. She's bringing me some things, though I don't know what.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Kurt Vonnegut Visited Second Life

All these videos have been made by actually Second Life participants. This video is an interview with Kurt Vonnegut while visiting Second Life. Remember to click here to join SecondLife.com. When prompted for a referral, use the Second Life name "Rez Messing."

Sunday, April 27, 2008

No Comment

I have turned off comments on this blog until further notice. That is all.

Naturally

This Study seems like just common sense. Still, it's good to have scientific confirmation of what we already believe. And, when reflecting upon people's activities in Second Life, we can see why almost every woman, and even some men, want to be the most attractive woman in the world.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Second Life Is Educational

All these videos have been made by actually Second Life participants. This video gives you a glimpse of the educational value of Second Life. Remember to click here to join SecondLife.com. When prompted for a referral, use the Second Life name "Rez Messing."

DAMN IT ALL

Everything that needs to be done - everything I'm supposed to do, my case manager is supposed to do, everything HUD is supposed to do, everything that UHS.org is supposed to do - scratch that.

Everything is in order as far as I know. The very last thing to happen is that HUD is supposed to inspect the unit to make sure it's up to codes. Once the unit is given the OK, I am allowed to move in. The same day even. I was told that the unit was inspected yesterday morning. All day yesterday I waited for a call from my case manager, or from UHS.org (the people in charge of the reality), telling to go get the key to the place.

I received my laptop two days ago and stayed up all night working on it. Then I was told about the inspection being done, and expected to move in yesterday. Again, I never got the call. So, I had my laptop with me and didn't want to take it with me to the mission, so I stayed all night again last night (yep, that's two nights in a row without sleep).

If I don't get the call today, to get the key to my apartment unit, I will have to wait until Monday. That's three more nights of staying at the mission. I REALLY DON'T WANT to stay at the mission, especially if there is another place waiting for me to move in. And what about my laptop? I'll have to entrust it with someone (more than likely my case manager (she is trustworthy). And won't have the laptop again until Monday as well.

What in the world could be holding things up? Worst of all, I'm getting absolutely no communication from anyone about what I actually happening.

Aurgh!

Somethin' For The Ladies

Remember to click here to join SecondLife.com. When prompted for a referral, use the Second Life name "Rez Messing."

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Share Your Music In Second Life

If you are to start a SecondLife.com account, please click HERE so I can get credit for it.

If you are making music, and can't find a way to get heard, you just may trip when you see the following video. All I ask, for turning you on to this, is to give me the credit - by using one of my links to Second Life.

I am having an issue with a stalker and so I am creating a team of helpers to get things arranged for me on Second Life. I think it best that I only appear in Second Life for official functions. And I will direct in world activities from a distance. Otherwise, I will be incognito.

It Is So Quiet In Here

Ducks in a row. Last qualifying meeting, of many, was completed this morning. And at the meeting I was told that the unit I am to move into, was inspected by HUD this morning. A couple days ago I was told that I could move in once the place passed inspection. I was also earlier told that HUD would not be inspecting until Friday, or Monday.

That does put a fire under ya, wanting the process to hurry up, and finally finish, so I can move in.

I haven't had a place of my own since January of 2005.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Newness

I am posting this via my new laptop. I pulled it from the "scratched and dented" pile at Dell. But it looks and works like it's brand spankin' new! Again, my thanks to all you nice folks who made this happen.

Yes, I will be up all night playing with it.

Sound Advice

This guy knows what he's talking about - obviously, he's an experienced road tripper.
Staying In Your Car

Email Recieved This Morning

MDHA has scheduled the briefing for tomorrow (Thursday 4/24/08) at 8:00. Either Julia or I will plan to meet you there. Belinda at UHS expects MDHA to inspect your apartment either Friday or Monday. If it passes inspection, she said you can move in the same day.

Don’t forget to take your medicine today!

Lessons In Respect

Woman Severely Beaten By Homeless Man, is how the title reads on news.google.com.

Channel 4 News really exaggerates the story, saying things like "nearly beaten to death" - but that is total fabrication. For one, she was never near death. Did they confirm this with a doctor? Naw, screw verifying facts, lets just get people stirred up. I saw this man who "attacked" the woman just prior to this incident. He was across the street from the McDonalds at the bus stop. He was sitting down on a bench inside the little bus stop shed. And he was so intoxicated that he was constantly falling in and out of consciousness. There is no way anyone that drunk could beat someone as badly as is claimed. Her injuries are from her fall, not from any "attack."

First of all, I lose a lot of respect for the news organizations for purposely distorting the facts, so to sensationalize the story.

Second, everyone should have a great deal of respect for any obviously intoxicated person, as their actions are always erratic and unpredictable. And certainly, no drunk panhandler is going to want food. That should be obvious. The woman should have never approached the man.

And I have no more respect for McDonalds for not providing assistance to a person in need, regardless of the circumstances. Sure, I'll still eat there. They have Wifi.

The FAME Page

It will take me some time to make, but I need to make a FAME page.

Some websites have FAQ pages - a page to answer Frequently Asked Questions. But there is some information about me that people just don't know to ask, but may be crucial to their understanding of me, or homelessness. So FAME stands for Facts About ME. Clever, eh? Look for it to appear in the next week, if not sooner.

I'll be making a "Wish List" page soon, too.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Trash Talking The Homeless

If you were to believe the reports, (and not question the source or motivation behind them) you would think, when food is given to homeless people downtown, that the resulting trash created is phenomenal. I even heard the pastor of the church I attend repeating that little fib. He was using it as an excuse to not feeding the homeless while the church's fellowship hall is being replaced.

Well, as common sense would tell you, any event like that would cause trash, some of which would escape the clutches of trash cans and become litter. When it's an event for the benefit of the homeless, the non-homeless people get all up-tight and out-raged. Trash was one of the excuses made for running the people, bringing food to the homeless, out of downtown.

Now, this past weekend was a weekend for the Developers, Nashville Downtown Partnership and Urban Residents Association. They had one of their, "come and see how cool downtown is and buy a loft" events. People actually bought tickets for the right to tour through the different buildings selling lofts. (Right there's got to tell you these loft buyers aren't so smart.)

Anyway, the event was all weekend. And Monday morning, guess what was found? Yep, TRASH. So where's the upset-ness? Where's the call from the Urban Residents Association to have this event closed down? Nope, Nada, aint gonna happen.

Poop is another related issue. People complained, (and I understand their point) that homeless people were pooping and peeing down alley's and other public places. And this was another excuse for trying to run all homeless people out of downtown.

So, what's happening now? These new urban dwellers are walking their doggies all over town, and letting them poop 'al fresco'. Some people do pick up after their dogs, but their are more and more who are not. Talk about bad form!

If we are going to outlaw homelessness, can we not also outlaw hypocrisy?

Should I Title Every Post "Homeless"?

Finally, I see my blog, of the blog*spot variety, the one you are now reading, has finally appeared on Google's search engine - currently in the 5th slot on the second page. Perhaps now I'll start working up the chart again. It would be nice to be back on the first page. (It's not an ego or vanity thing, I assure you ;0)

I received an email confirmation from Dell that my laptop did in fact ship yesterday. Being that Dell is located in Nashville, it shouldn't take too long - Dell has a plant somewhere in Texas too, don't they?

Lots of homeless people have come down with a cough or the sniffles the past couple days, it could be a new cold bug making the rounds, or it could be Spring time allergies. There are holes in some of the shower areas in the mission with LOTS of mold showing. At least the mission has made toilet paper more accessible. A could days ago, several of those large paper roll dispensers were mounted onto the walls near the toilets - the dispensers were removed from the actual stalls shorty after the mission opened. Some homeless people are not very responsible with the supply of TP and so ruin it for the rest of us.

One thing that happened "to" me as a result of living in the rescue mission, is that I was exposed to TB, and now have the germ in me. I don't have active TB, but I always test positive. And yes, I tested positive many years ago. I tried getting on the medication for it, but could not keep up with the pills. Now that I will soon be in a more stable place, and have a case manager who is always on my case, I should be able to keep up with the program.

As I should be getting into a place, and though the rent will be subsidized, I will still be responsible for $150 a month. I will attempt to get part time work, but that is still an iffy thing. There are many ways to earn money on SecondLife.com, but from what I've read, only 2 percent of the total population of SecondLife earn a positive flow income every month. Still, I'll have lots of time to dedicate to learning the ins and outs of SecondLife - more than most people - so, I'm going to give it a shot. But I'll still have to depend on Paypal donations for a while.

There is a way to make subscription style donations through Paypal - like a magazine subscription, as you set it up once to make monthly donations. I've not done that before - we'll have to just see how that goes.

Monday, April 21, 2008

My Current Status: Homeless

I am currently homeless, but rumour has it I will have housing - a place off the streets - in a couple weeks. This is one of those grey areas of homelessness, as I am no longer on the street, but it's not really my home either. The majority of my rent will be paid by others. Well, there are many people who live in places that are paid for by others - housewives, children, elderly - so it's hard to pin down. Is this just a form of couch surfing? Being able to live independently isn't necessarily the cure to homelessness. There is no definitive answer to the question "what is homelessness."

Since the winter shelter program, Room In The Inn, closed its doors for the season - 21 days ago, I have lost 10 pounds.

I just checked my Dell account, and it tells me my laptop has been shipped. Only a couple days, then, till it arrives and I'm connected again.

My son graduates from high school next month. I will do all I can to attend the ceremony. If for any reason I miss it, I want him to know that I am very proud of him, and how his life is turning out. It looks like he's got a good start going for himself.

My daughter, of age 14, isn't doing so bad either. My love goes out to both of them.

Defining Causes Of Homelessness

Particularly, I guess I should answer those critics who think, because I can author a blog, etc, that I couldn't actually be homeless. And they accuse me of fraud.

Yes, I know that I don't have to - these "critics" are not really critical thinkers, but are only looking for an angle by which to cause grief. Still, their point should be countered, as their accusations affect not only me, but many homeless people.

There are two aspects of the human brain, and though they relate, they don't necessarily dominate each other. The best, and perhaps easiest example would be found in the recent movie, "A Beautiful Mind." Many of you have seen it, so you'll know what I'm talking about. And if you haven't, I highly recommend it.

The movie is the true story of a man who won a Nobel Peace Prize for his theories in Mathmatics, yet all the while the man suffered from full blown schizophrenia. He saw and talked to people who didn't really exist. He was a genius, with a mental illness.

You see, one aspect of this man's brain, the part with the illness, did not prevent him from being smart, and from functioning very highly in certain aspects. And his intelligence didn't stop him from having an illness either. Though, I am certain that his intelligence did allow him the ability to hide his illness to an extent. And allowed him the ability to prevent his illness from completely consuming his life.

And so it is for a lot of people, including homeless people. Just because I am homeless does not mean that I am retarded, or unable to think critically. And just because I can think and function intellectually does not mean that I can prevent myself from becoming homeless. What makes me homeless is separate from what makes me somewhat intelligent.

I occasionally wonder what my life would be life if I didn't have this issue that causes my homelessness. I would probably be running my own business, instead of sweeping out garages.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Music Industry Sued A Homeless Man

http://recordingindustryvspeople.blogspot.com/2008/04/riaa-sues-homeless-man-makes-sewer.html

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Since You Asked

On my laptop I have Windows XP
my hard drive: 250 GB SATA 5400RPM
and: 2 GB DDR2 SDRAM 667MHz (2 DIMMs)

Also, when I write on a particular subject, usually something has happened recently which triggers the post, but for the sake of other people's privacy, I try not to mention any particulars. Sometimes I wonder about that, if it's such a good policy, and if some people are really deserving of such treatment. But, if I do have an opinion on any particular subject, it's because I've dealt with it on more than one occasion over the years, and have developed an opinion, one way or the other, on the subject at hand.

Friday, April 18, 2008

The Laptop I Ordered

This is the laptop I ordered:

Dell Vostro 1700 - a 17 inch wide screen - WOW!
Intel Core Duo T7250 cpu - ZOOM!
256MB NVIDIA GeForce 8600M GT POW!

It should arrive in 3 to 5 working days - too bad we are now into the weekend. I can't wait!

I'm Not Devoid Of Hope, And Now There Is Proof

This is very interesting to me, on many levels. Check out this post by a Nashville blogger, who has developed a very interesting measure of blogs.
Wousy Wousy Woo

It's Time For People To Change

www.cbc.ca
The trial of three reserve soldiers has come to an abrupt end in Toronto after two of them pleaded guilty to charges of manslaughter and the third to a lesser charge.

The soldiers were originally charged with the second-degree murder of a 59-year-old man beaten to death in a downtown Toronto park.

But on Thursday Brian Deganis, 23, and Jeffery Hall, 23, changed their pleas, saying they were guilty of manslaughter.

Mountaz Ibrahim, 25, the third man charged, pleaded guilty to the lesser charge of being an accessory after the fact.

All three also pleaded guilty to charges of assaulting a woman who witnessed the beating.

John Rosen, the lawyer representing Hall, said the prosecution finally accepted the lesser charge of manslaughter for his client because alcohol was a factor in the attack.

"I think that what happened here was, that in an alcoholic haze, my client and Deganis misjudged entirely the situation and completely overreacted to whatever was going on," said Rosen.

Hall accepts responsibility for the attack, according to Rosen, and will take his punishment.

The victim Paul Croutch had been sleeping on a park bench in Moss Park near Sherbourne and Shuter streets in August 2005.

In court, Crown prosecutors said one of the accused was overheard saying he hated homeless people and wanted to take them on. It was after that the reservists went to the park and committed the attack.

All three men had been at a function at the nearby Moss Park Armoury.

The jury was told that Croutch was punched and kicked so hard that his body landed almost a metre behind the bench where he was sleeping.

The brutality of the killing shocked people in Toronto. It was not only the violence against a vulnerable man that caught people's attention, but also that three Canadian Forces reservists were accused of the fatal assault.

An autopsy showed Croutch suffered head injuries likely caused by punching, kicking or stomping.

Sentencing is scheduled for April 30.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Campers

Let's say you live with your parents, and your parents like you, and you like your parents. you get along just fine. But say you decide to go to college in another state, or someplace far away from home. And for whatever reason, you don't have enough money to pay for college, and housing. So, you decide to spend your nights sleeping on the streets, or in homeless shelters, etc., while attending classes.

Guess what? YOU ARE NOT HOMELESS! Don't call yourself homeless. You are a camper, and a very poor one at that. You have a place to go to - so go. If you can't figure out how to be housed while attending school, then school isn't the place for you.

This also applies to other scenarios, like pursuing a music career. As you drive around the country and live out of your car, while playing gigs at different cafe's, yet you can go home any time you want to, then you too are not homeless. Sure, saying so may get you laid, or on a tv show, but in reality you are just a camper too. And you do a disservice to all truly homeless people by lying about your situation.

Same thing if you hit the streets just to see what it's like to be homeless, and so you spend some time in a shelter, or tent city, and all the while you have a home to go to, then you are not homeless, you are just a tourist.

When out among the homeless, be honest about yourself and your situation.

Hooray

This morning I had 3 more email notifications from PayPal for donations made toward my laptop fundraising. The goal has been reached, and I am very very grateful for everyone who helped out. I can now get back to blogging on homelessness. Thank You.

A Special Note of thanks to the people of Mobile Loaves and Fishes - the Nashville chapter - for responding so quickly to my needs when my backpack was first stolen. They responded quickly with a care package, including lunch, and the very next day with a brand new backpack full of clothes and toiletries. I can't thank them enough.

Twenty people donated a total of $750 to my laptop fund, giving what they could, from $2 to $200. (I was able to put in $300 of my own towards the fund). In whatever way I can, I will return the favor.

Thank you again. I'll let you know as soon as I have ordered the laptop, which one I'm getting, and when it arrives.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

So Close, So Close

Oh man, I'm so close to the goal of raising $1000 for a laptop, a laptop with the features I need to get me where I need to go. I've raised over $800 bucks, $300 of that is my own money I earned recently. As soon as I reach the goal, I can get back to seriously blogging about homelessness. More junk is happening - bad news for the homeless as the homeless population around the world continues to grow. Instead of recognizing that people need to be cured of homelessness, people are instead trying to outlaw the condition. That's like trying to outlaw the common cold. Folks, we need to be looking for real solutions to end homelessness, not just try chasing it away. Cause really, unless we develop a proper response to homelessness, it will only continue to grow.

Please please please send a donation.
thanks.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Good Morning Monday

For the past three days we, here in Nashville, have been experiencing near freezing temperatures in the mornings, with highs in the 40s. It happens like this almost every year. We have a warming trend, and it becomes too much to carry around my big jacket that kept me warm during the winter, and so I ditch the jacket. Then we have another cold snap and I end up running around town in t-shirts. Currently, I have 3 t-shirts on. Tomorrow, it will start warming up again, with a high in the 60s, and 70s for the rest of the week. I'll just have to grin and bear the cold for one more day. Oh, and this cold snap has really driven the homeless to the shelter of the rescue mission. I'm glad I went down there early to sign up for a bed - even then I had to cut in the line to make sure I got a bed assignment - doing so is not something I'm proud of, but it was a necessity. Many Many people had to sit up in the dayroom all night.

Oddly, I didn't have any emails waiting for me this morning. Then I remembered that I haven't made an offical post to my blog in a while. I've made changes and additions to it, but those don't get registered by search engine bots - just the posts do. Readership has also dropped off too - for the same reason. Looks like lots of people are using RSS readers now, and they don't bother to visit websites if they don't first pop up in their readers. Well, and Google still doesn't recognize my blog under the keyword "homeless." Which is odd because for the longest time, I enjoyed the number 5 spot on the front page of that search. That was when I blogged with blogspot. But when I moved over to WordPress, suddenly everything changed - at least with Google. With Yahoo, I'm still on the front page of that keyword search. Seems like Google is just being vengeful. When I did switch to WordPress, I did have some unkind things to say about Blogger - which Google owns. Could that be the reason? Most of those readers I've lost were lookie-loos anyway, but still, it effects my daily readership numbers by a couple hundred.

One person has offered me a laptop. It's an older one, and I suspect I won't be able to run SecondLife.com on it, but at least I've have access to the internet. I've recently read that most laptops cannot be upgraded with the types of videocards necessary to run SecondLife.com. That is because of the space constraints with the laptops themselves. Those gaming video cards are bigger than the average ones used.

So, I'm still looking buy a better laptop Een used, the kind of laptop I really need would cost over a thousand dollars. So, I'll still be fund raising till I get enough. I apologize if my requests for money are annoying, but I don't have any other way to raise the funds necessary. I've been shopping around quite a bit, and think I can get what I need for about $1200 to $1500.

My deepest thanks to all you who have donated to this cause, and to all you who will be donating soon.

Friday, April 11, 2008

I Did It

Today I spoke to a group of 70+ students at Belmont University about homelessness. It was an awareness raising event, between the Sociology Dept and Mobile Loaves and Fishes.

First I talked, and then did an Q&A segment. All toll, it lasted 40 minutes. Sure, at points my voice was shakey but every one was attentive and considerate.

Ii was a miracle that I got through it, given my anxieties. But I did, and got paid for it too. That's nice.

More Questions About Laptop Security

I am most tempted to use a Dell computer because they are based here in Nashville, and so service is quick, and fairly reliable.

At the rescue mission, there are lockers that a person can rent, but there are a couple issues with them. First, the lockers must be rented, and though they are fairly cheap, I do not always have money to pay the monthly rent. And if you don't pay the rent, you will be evicted from the locker and your things will be thrown away. I have had a locker at the mission in the past, a couple times, and that has happened each time. Also, many people have complained that someone has been getting into their lockers and taking things. I don't think that ever happened to me, but mission staff and certain program men can get access to the lockers whenever they want to.

The mission also, does not allow anything to be locked onto the property, onto fences, or whatever. Even people with bicycles are not allowed to chain them up anywhere, and there are no bike racks available. Given the potential for theft, many homeless who may have an opportunity to get a bicycle opt not to, because of the risk. I personally don't understand why the mission does not provide bike racks. There is plenty of space in the parking lot to have them. And as for transportation for the poor, you can't beat a bike. So many jobs available to homeless people are not on bus routes, and are some distance from the mission, and so bikes would be the perfect solution to that. As I know that the rescue mission administration reads this blog, (Hi Don) I hope they reevaluate their current policy of bikes. Heck, if I knew I could safely lock up a bike, I'd get one myself.

So, of course, if they won't let people lock up bikes on the property, they certainly would not let me lock up my laptop to the building either.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Laptop Security

Someone asked about security issues with the next laptop I get.

I have made arrangements with my case manager, so that the laptop would go home with her at night, until I can secure housing, which should be happening within a month if not sooner.

Start Life Anew In Second Life

SecondLife.com is a virtual reality site on the Internet, the full potential of which is still not completely known. What is know, is that SecondLife.com can greatly enhance your real life. One of its primary uses is in education. I had just gotten a taste of it, and started plans of creating a homeless advocacy in SecondLife.com when my computer was stolen. And recently, I've been asking people for help in getting another one - one with the capacity to run SecondLife.com effectively. Because it is a virtual reality, it requires a more powerful computer than most websites.

One way in which you can help is by signing up for an account with SecondLife.com. An account is FREE, but if you upgrade to a Premium account, and use one of my links to the sight, then I'll receive 2000 Lindens, which is currently worth about $7 dollars. And Lindens can be cashed out at any time.

SecondLife.com is incredibly fun and entertaining as well as educational. Check out these amazing flickr photos take from within SecondLife.com

I've Raised $600 $700 So Far

Could you help me get the rest of the way there?
Something like this - click the pic.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

No Laptop No Life

Please, Good people of the Internets and beyond. What a horrible thing it is to be without a laptop. Since my laptop was stolen Sunday night, I've been gaining internet access only through the public library, on their very restricted computers, being allowed only one hour at a time, and having to compete with many others to get that one hour.

My computer is my life - yes, I had no life before computers - to be sure. It was access to the internet that has allowed me to overcome so much of my social anxieties. And still, most of my socializing is done via the net.

And my life's work, that of being an advocate, telling the world about homelessness, is something I can only do online. I don't have much value to society outside of it.

Since I began blogging, some 5 years ago, I have enjoyed the generous support of my readers - as they have graciously donated laptops to me when I was in need. As they upgraded, they have passed on their old one's to me - four laptops in the past five years. Yes, I am very happy to get any ol' hand-me-down.

The last computer I had was strong enough that I was able to access the virtual world of secondlife.com. I was instantly amazed with SecondLife's potential, especially as vehicle for change in real life. It lends itself so well to educational and informational uses. Even the Nashville Library system can be accessed via SecondLife. I'm sure it won't be long before SecondLife is as popular as MySpace. It would be good to get established there, before their real population explosion hits, which I think is still yet to come.

The types of laptop computers that can handle SecondLife are faster than normal, and are then usually more expensive. That is why I believe I'll have to purchase my next laptop - as I'm uncertain that anyone would just give away such an item - even to a homeless advocate.

So I'm asking, really I'm begging, for support, for donations, for any help at all at raising the funds necessary for me to get back online, and get back to my advocacy work.

The kind of laptop I need, new, would cost between $1500 and $3000. Gee, that does sound like a lot. But I'm hoping, really really hoping, and crossing my fingers, etc, that I do have enough social clout with people on the internet to raise enough, in a short period, so to get a laptop. My blog enjoys over 10,000 readers a month. If just 10 percent of those people sent in 3 dollars each, I'd be able to get it.

Trust me, I really don't like begging, or cyber panhandling, or whatever you would call it. But I'm really desperate for this cause, and so am willing to abase myself in this manner, to make it happen.

You can send donations by clicking on the donation button on the righthand column. And you don't even need a PayPal account anymore, a credit card will work just as well now.

thank you for putting up with my pleas for help, and thank you for helping.

Kevin

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Photo Show At Belmont University

The Sociology Dept at Belmont and Mobile Loaves and Fishes Nashville is hosting a photography show of pictures taken by Nashville's homeless residents. The opening will be this Friday from 10 to 11am. I will be there, and have been asked to say a few words. Come and see.

This is the press release they send out:
Homeless, Working Poor to Offer Photo Exhibit at Belmont
Students, employees partner with Mobile Loaves & Fishes for project

– Thanks to an idea developed by Belmont University students, the new Mobile Loaves and Fishes Photography Exhibit will be unveiled on the Belmont campus next week. The exhibit will display photographs taken by many of the homeless and working poor people from the streets of Nashville. Public viewings are scheduled for Wed., April 9 from 6-9 p.m. and Fri., April 11 from 10-11 a.m. in the University Ministries Student Lounge in the Gabhart Student Center at Belmont.

Mobile Loaves and Fishes (MLF) is a growing social outreach ministry to the homeless and indigent working poor that seeks to provide food, clothing and dignity to those in need. MLF started its Nashville relief efforts in Summer 2007, and before long, Belmont’s Sociology Department had signed on with a commitment to lead the way in providing volunteers. Numerous Belmont University students, faculty and staff have since joined in efforts to assist the organization. The goals of this exhibit include raising awareness about local issues of hunger and homelessness, introducing students to the work of Mobile Loaves and Fishes and showing the artistry that can be found in unexpected places.

Cash Forshee, a Belmont student who has volunteered with MLF and who first had the idea for a photo exhibit, said, "This project has been a year-long effort that began in the sanctuary of Trinity Presbyterian Church. My best friend, Micah, has been my partner in creating the project. Together, we wanted to create a project that would bring reality to the Belmont community, acknowledging the enormous differences and surprising similarities, as privileged students, that we share with the homeless. We had to de-generalize the homeless and remove the stereotypes that surround the homeless and their personal stories."

Dr. Andi Stepnick, chair of the Belmont Sociology Department, added, “It’s been an incredible opportunity to help bring MLF to Belmont’s campus. The work they are doing is so important and it dovetails beautifully with our departmental mission and values as well as with many of our students’ interest in justice work. Belmont’s Sociology department emphasizes applied and service learning, and students’ service with MLF allows them to do both. When coupled with research and related class projects, students’ service with MLF helps them to understand poverty in a more meaningful and complex way.”

Sara Hylton, program director for MLF-Nashville, said, “This year alone MLF will serve 25,000 meals in the Nashville area. With the help of Belmont’s students, faculty and staff, we’re able to do that, but there are always volunteer opportunities available in this fast-growing outreach ministry, and we are always looking for new partners.”

For more information on Mobile Loaves and Fishes, visit mlfnow.org

Thanks A Bunch!

Many thanks to all the people who sent words of encouragement and other things, so to replace most of what I recently lost. I now have another backpack full of clothes and toiletries. Now, I just have to find a new replacement laptop. I have some money to put towards a fund for one...

Where I Grew Up

This is where I grew up - in the middle of this street-view is a fuzzy black line of the utility pole in front of the house I lived in from the age of 4 to 20.

View Larger Map

Monday, April 7, 2008

Some Reprieve

Recently, a couple people had donated money to my paypal - and it finally arrived today. It won't replace all that was recently lost, but I'm feeling better anyhow. thanks for all your kind words.

There is nothing worse than nothing

And so it happens. Last night, while I ate dinner at the rescue mission, someone took off with my backpack. It is a requirement that people leave their packs outside the mission when going inside - this leaves personal items very vulnerable to theft, obviously.

I am now left with nothing but the clothes on my back. Everything else is gone, including my laptop. I am back to accessing the internet via the library.

Yes, this is a major setback.

It's been a week of setbacks. Full of promise, with my new case manager, only to be turned back at every attempt at finding housing. Even the best opportunity for housing is at least a month away.

It's not like this is the first time this has happened. I've made many other attempts at improving my lot in life, only to be sent back to ground zero. Sometimes it feels like there's no getting out of this hole.

You bet, I'm back to looking for another laptop. If you, or someone you know, has recently upgraded to a new laptop, and have not yet decided what to do with there older one, please consider donating it to my cause. I'm especially in need of a computer that can run SecondLife.com - I had begun building a non-profit with the hopes of doing more homeless advocacy there.

You can most easily contact me via email at thehomelessguy AT gmail DOT com.

A Picture Tells A Story, Dough Nit



Thursday, April 3, 2008

Hey Buddy, Could You Spare A Sandwich?

I'll spare you all the pleas and justifications for my asking, but I am asking, especially during this week, for something to eat during the day. I can get dinner at the mission, breakfast at the mission really isn't a meal. When fasting, a person isn't supposed to look like he's fasting, yeah. I admit, I am often weak of character. Next week I'll be back on track and able to get my own. (thanks to the young lady who helped me out last night, which allowed me to avoid the mission.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Church Or Government - Who Is Responsible?

Over at Trying To Follow, the question comes up once again, "Whose job is it to take care of the homeless, the church, or the government?"

To that question, I left this comment:

Yeah, everyone asks “whose job is it” or “whose responsibility is it” to care for the homeless. Well, it is nobody’s, really. Yet, if any organization makes a declaration to the public that they are assuming the role of care taker of the homeless, poor etc, then they have a responsibility of living up to that claim. Jesus told his followers to take care of those in need. So, as Christians go about claiming Christ, then they need to follow through on Jesus’ instructions.

The government of the United States of America, declared in the preamble of the Constitution that one of its objectives was to - well just read the whole thing - which at the time it was written, government was synonymous with citizenry -

We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence,[1] promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America

“…promote the general Welfare” sounds to me like a promise by the government to take care of those in need.

So, yeah, if someone says they are going to do something, then we have every right to expect as much from them - and if they don’t, to demand it.

Both the Church and our Government should be held responsible for taking care of the needy.

Question Of The Day

So a new reader writes: "I want my donation to be a gift that lets people know they matter to God...what does that gift look like?"

That gift looks like you. As God has let you know that you matter to Him, so you should reflect the same to others, especially to the widows, orphans, homeless, anyone in need.

Find just one homeless person, and invest all your talents and resources in him or her. Befriend that homeless person. Let that homeless person take advantage of all you have to offer, (without it becoming abusive). Bake a cake, make a sandwich, knit a scarf, buy an umbrella, and present these gifts as you sit down with your homeless friend and talk. Talk about the weather or politics or life, or whatever - to the extent your friend wishes to engage you - and listen with an open mind and heart.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Things

I have a good case manager. Though she's been working on my case a short while, she's already achieved more than I have done on my own. Sure, she's doing a lot of hand holding, but that's just what is needed at this point. For two years I've been telling myself that I needed to go down to the Social Security Office and get a copy of my Social Security Card. But I never did. Well, we've already taken care of that. And she's collected other important papers and documents in preparation for applying for services for myself. Just knowing that she's involved in the process, helps me to keep appointments. And as difficulties present themselves, she's quick to get me talking about them, and working through them, so that I don't self destruct - which is my normal M.O. - I've not received such care from any other case manager, or homeless service provider. The city is paying for this service - thank you, Mr and Mrs taxpayer.

It's still going to be while before I get into housing, which is our main goal.

You really can never trust a bigot. And bigots we have in downtown Nashville. And though the situation has significantly changed, their story stays the same. The big business folks and the loft dwellers have long complained about the homeless downtown. This immediately raised red flags for me cause I could see the problems coming. First of all, the word "homeless" is used to label a lot of very different types of people, with the only thing in common being that they are homeless. Then these big business and loft dweller people got more specific in defining their case, saying that homeless people were panhandling, peeing and defecating in public. Well that is a serious charge, and no doubt some homeless people were doing those things, but not all of them, not even the majority of them, and obviously some non-homeless people are doing those things too. But these non-homeless downtown people enlisted the help of politicians to bring the heat down on the homeless, and the homeless population in downtown Nashville did change. Some of the things they did were effective towards their goals, and somethings weren't, but they aren't splitting hairs that closely. Arresting aggressive panhandlers went a long way towards cleaning up the streets of the anti-social behavior of the homeless. Shutting down the mobile soup kitchens only made life worse for many homeless people, and did nothing to bring about the desired effect. But the initiators of these tactics really don't care.

Now, a great improvement has been made in downtown Nashville. The pesky panhandlers and others whose behavior was questionable, have been run off from downtown, or those homeless have learned their lesson, and are not bothering the good folks like they used to. I can't even remember the last time I was panhandled walking along Church Street and 5th Ave North. It used to be a daily occurrence. For all this, you'd think that everyone working and living downtown would be happy, and we'd finally have some peace in the city. Hell no.

The same people are still making the same complaints. They look at Church St Park and see it's full of homeless people, and they pitch a fit. And they make all the same complaints they always have about the homeless. The thing is, the homeless people now occupying the park are nearly all very good and law abiding citizens. They keep mostly to themselves, they don't panhandle or otherwise bother other people, and they pick up after themselves. And this little point is so important. And it belies the truth of the loft dwellers and big business men and women. They are still pointing at bad behavior of the homeless people, which really no longer exists, as the excuse for trying to run ALL homeless people own of downtown. It's not so much the bad behavior of the homeless, but just the general existence of homeless people near where they live, that's got them so upset. This is true prejudice and bigotry - the unequal enforcement of rights and privileges based on cultural and economic differences. It's ugly.

There are two ways to make sure your comments never see the light of day on this blog. One, is to not properly identify yourself. If you don't believe enough in what you say to stand behind your opinions and sign your comments, or, if in previous comments you have been rude, then just forget it. Your comment isn't happening here.