On the way to class this morning, I heard a vocal sound best described as "sqwarj". As I happened to be by a tree at the time, I suspected a squirrel. I began scanning the tree for the culprit.
It was indeed a squirrel.
It was paying surprisingly little attention me, considering the stereotypical shyness of squirrels. It seemed to be involved, instead, in squirrel politicks.
Its "sqwarj" was directed not at me, but at another squirrel occupying a different branch of the tree. The besqwarjed squirrel replied. "||~||'|, |~~|?" (The "~" represents a tail-twitch, and I suspect it counts as a syllable. Sadly, I have not yet gained the skill to distinguish between varieties of twitches, nor can I distinguich between varieties of chirp. There was, however, definite punctuation.)
"~~ ~|." It gestured with its nose towards the ground, where a squirrel of slightly redder fur- obviously from a different family- stood on its hind legs, watching me warily. In retrospect, it was directing its attention to the wrong danger.
"||||'! Squeep! ~~!" The second squirrel in this narrative turned to face the squirrel on the ground. "Sqwarj! ||'|, ~~|~'|! Sqwarj ~~!"
"Zeef. ||'||~|." The squirrel on the ground was obviously having none of it. "~~~ ~."
The original sqwarjer turned its attention to the apparent intruder on its territory. "Eeeeeeeev~~!" It jumped to the trunk of the tree and ran down it, joined by the other squirrel in the tree, yelling its war cry. "Eeeeeev!"
"Eep eep!" The redder squirrel ran for it- aiming for a different tree, of course. "|||~|." Pursued by the gray squirrels, it was chased up the tree.
The two gray squirrels just sat at the base of the tree. "~~ ~|~."
"||| |||'||." The redder squirrel sounded peeved.
Satisfied, the gray squirrels wandered back to the original tree.
According to my psychology book, "humans are different from animals in that animals do not use language." According to me, this among other parts of my psychology book is clearly a load of hogwash.
In the five-minute break we got in the middle of Psych class, I wandered over to the restroom in McDonnell Hall, the building in which the class was housed. On the way there, I observed a large box marked "TRASH."
That's always lucrative, but time was short. I opted to come back to rummage through it later, should it indeed be there.
Well, class finished, and it was indeed there when I returned. So I was up to my elbows in back issues of optics magazines, grabbing a few interesting looking ones, when another box marked "TRASH" was pushed out the door of the adjacent office. And that one looked like it had shiny things in it! I quickly went over to it, not really caring much for pride, ignoring the fact that whoever was discarding these objects would get to see me rummaging through it.
Dr. Ailen Wang was rather amused to see me. She'd just put the box out. "Dumpster diving?"
"You should know by now that boxes marked 'TRASH' attract engineers unless the proper variety of repellent is used."
She just laughed. "I don't mind. There's no reason for that stuff to go to waste if anybody wants it."
Extracting a complete five-diskette set of 51/4s for Microsoft Windows 3.0 (Requires 286 or better), I replied "Post an ad in the engineering school that you have this stuff availible. You'll have maybe 1/4 of it by Monday, even though it is the summer."
She said she'd take me up on it; I haven't been to the CEC since to know if she actually posted such a message, but I wouldn't be surprised.
The end take for me, by the way, was:
Microsoft Windows 3.0 (who could resist?)
a broken 31/2 floppy drive, probably a busted motor, that's going to become wall decoration
A perfectly good ugly clock with a dead battery
Two boxes of floppy diskettes, probably with interesting data from the index in the boxes
Two back issues of Physics Today
Two back issues of Photonics
Whatever makes people think I have hoarding tendencies?