Birding at the Mall of America

I have the worst headache this morning, and I can only attribute it to one thing, having been to the Mall of America two days in a row. There are some wonderful shops there, including a Wild Bird Store, however I never feel more confined and claustrophobic than in that place.

I had to go Friday because it was Non Birding Bill's birthday and we have a special fondness for the restaurant Long John Silvers--one of our favorite eateries when we were getting to know each other in college. There are very few up north and the only one in our area is of course at the Mall of America. I cannot deny NBB his favorite food when it is his birthday and especially because he puts up with so much living with me.

When we got home, we got a phone call from Lorraine (pictured below, with the sprained middle finger and me below) saying that our good friend Kitty Cat(pictured above with NBB) was in town and would we meet the two of them for lunch at the Mall of America tomorrow. I glared at NBB. He asked Lorraine if we could meet outside the Mall, since we were just there that day. Lorraine offered to pay for lunch and well, I hardly see Miss Kitty so I acquiesced.

Our friends have such interesting lives, Lorraine is a personal assistant to Mr. Neil, is a fabulous violin player and has her own band in the form of Lorraine a Melena. Miss Kitty is an artist who makes cool magnets (she made one for me of Jackie Chan) and travels a bit with bands as a chef or as a personal assistant. And when I say bands, I mean bands like Motley Crue, Depeche Mode (one of my high school favorites, she gave me her backstage pass when she was finished), Foo Fighters and she may be going out with Tool in the near future.

After our lunch we looked at a few shops like the Apple Store, Hot Topic and Urban Outfitters where I was surprised to find some bird clothing. There is a line called Modern Amusement which had some sweaters, pants and boxer shorts with birds (you can already see in the photo at left, I really have had enough of the Mall of America--the wine from lunch must have been wearing off). I was very intrigued by the boxer shorts and really wanted to purchase a pair, but alas, every piece of clothing I have ever purchased from Urban Outfitters doesn't last beyond a second washing and I can't justify paying $20 some odd dollars for boxer shorts with birds on them, not matter how accurate they are. I have never purchased clothing from this line before so it may be able to stand up to a washing machine, but I've been burned too many times before by UO clothes to risk chancing it. Anyway, here are some of the bird designs up close:

I highly doubt that blue jays ever wish they were peacocks. They come off cocky enough as it is. I thing blue jays prefer to think of peacocks wishing they were more like blue jays.

This, to me looked like a female red-winged blackbird. If anyone has any other ideas as to the identification of the species, please feel free to let me know. It's a bold choice to pick a more obscure bird like this. And I find the message, "Beware of Cougars" to be one of the more sensible things I've read on a pair of boxers.

The purple finch on the blue boxers exclaiming that he never promised me a rose garden was my favorite. And it's true, the never do promise rose gardens--at least none of the field guides out there say that they do.

On Friday when NBB and I were at Long John Silvers, we sat on the third floor eating our greasy fish and chicken we could look down on Lego Land, I remembered back over eight years ago when I first applied to the Wild Bird Store and began my birding career. I so did not want to work at the Mall of America, however, after a string of temp jobs to support my theater career, which included working for a penile implant factory translating french questionnaires about people with erectile dysfunction as well as urinary and fecal incontinence and then a job working at a Chemlawn office, I was desperate. The Chemlawn job was the worst, you could smell the chemicals in the offices and being opposed to it, I felt horrible working there, both physically and morally. That was the first time I did something completely irresponsible--when my break came, I walked out to my car and just drove away--no word to the supervisors, nothing.

So, I decided on trying for the bird store, the job was only part-time and at the Mall, but I figured I could just get my foot in the door and go from there. As luck would have it, I learned during the interview that a full-time job was available in the company that was at a neighborhood store and not the Mall and things fell into place there. That interview was so strange though, because I met the manager for a coffee at a little table next to Lego Land and a Mary Kate and Ashley movie was being filmed while we talked. I wonder, if that some sort of omen about my career decision to get out of theater and into birding.