Wednesday, August 11, 2010

The New Tenant

As some of you know, I set up my little 3 gallon aquarium in June and managed to get two fish to survive in there until now. Rest assured that the two little Red Phantom Tetras are doing just fine, despite the abnormally high PH of the water. I've been trying to get it to go down, but haven't had much success even with the PH balancer I bought at the pet shop. Apparently the Tetras I have, have adapted to it which I was told was amazing. Usually they all die. This is what I get for living high on a mountain with water that comes from a dammed lake. Very hard water, with a high PH balance and added chlorine that makes it smell and taste like I've dived into a swimming pool.

All that aside I was told today by the fish guy extraordinaire that the water was fine and I could get some fish today. I could get just about any fresh water fish they had. Except Red Phantom Tetras, or Tetras in general because they're sensitive to high PH. *sag* Well hell... I think he noticed my immediate depression, and suggested I get a Cory Cat. "They're like roaches," (I'm add libbing) he told me,"When I moved up here, I had to give away my Corys. I had 4, but when I went to give them to the person, I could only find 3." So he emptied the tank, loaded it up in his car with all his worldly possessions and drove the 6 hours to his new home. Upon arriving he went to set up his tank, and started filling it. .. and out comes the missing Cory. It was just fine. Now that's a hardy fish. Hopefully I won't kill him. :P

So, I came home with a small Spotted Cory Cat! I'm not sure if that's right though, because all the pictures I find on the Internet don't look like him. Here he is!

There are all kinds you can get, but I liked the spots and the light eye color. It's hard to see, but he also has iridescent blue stripes behind his gills. They're so pretty flashing in the light. Did you know they blink? They don't have eyelids, but they can pull their eye down inside their head to clean foreign material from their eyes. Supposedly they do one eye at a time, but mine has been blinking both at the same time. I hope he's not smashing his brain matter into mush. And I found out they blink because I watched him for an obsessive two hours to make sure he was going to get along with the persnickety Red Phantoms. They have had a love hate relationship with each other since the one died some months back. I can't say I understand the mind of fish, but it would do them a world of good to have another three Red Phantoms in there with them. They're happiest in a small school. They've torn each others fins to splinters. I'd say shreds, but it doesn't look like shreds.

The little Cory has been very active since I put him in the tank. Actually I'm sort of worried he's going to kill himself from sheer exhaustion. The up side is the Red Phantoms are much more active since the Cory is so active. Usually they hide in the little treasure chest all day. Now they're being more adventurous and hiding behind a spindly fake plant. Here's the proof. I can actually take a picture of the little Red without him spooking. The Phantoms have been trying to school with the newcomer and its just not working, because his swimming pattern is too erratic. Makes for some good laughs watching them try and keep up with the Cat as he zooms all over the tank. Up, down, up to the surface to skim, then down again behind the rock... then he goes foraging in the gravel for a while and the Phantoms don't know what to make of that at all.

Now all I have to do is pray he doesn't drop dead on me. I like him too much already!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

What Do You Think?

During my years of trundling up and down the mountainside, to work and back, I have witnessed many off the wall things. A bear being chased by a bunch of dogs do a somersault through a barbwire fence. A wild Tom Turkey doing his best to scare off passing cars, with his sumo-style stomp and feather display, from the center of the road. A car full of morons making a u-turn on a blind corner... veeerrrrrry sloowwwlllyyy. A flasher standing by the side of the road during winter (Not the appropriate time of year dude.) But I have to say that tonight's commute experience was the one that topped it all.

For almost a week now there has been a dead skunk laying in the middle of the road at a particularly bad corner. Normally the Turkey Vultures would have taken care of it by now, but as I said, the corpse is in a bad section of the road, and Vultures however ugly are not stupid. Skunk Corpse smells awful. You have the stench of skunk, mixed with the stench of death, and it makes even me gag. There is no keeping it out of your car, even if you have all the vents closed. We commuters have learned not to breath for the 45-50 seconds (at 55 mph) that it takes you get past the really ripe dead skunk and its aurora of cloying haze.

So, here I am driving home, a little later than usual. Which means I was not surrounded by home seeking commuters who don't really care if they're speeding. This turned out to be a good thing, because as I came up on 'Skunk Way' which is a blind corner I had to slam on the breaks and swerve to the right side of the road, and then swerve back to avoid a parked car. Why you ask? Because there was a man standing in the center of the road leaning over the Skunk Corpse with a spray bottle in his hand. I slowed. What the hell is he doing?! He's going to get himself killed! As I watched in stunned amazement via the rear view mirror this man sprays the skunk corpse with a bottle of Fabreeze. FABREEZE!! The man is risking death to spray roadkill with AIR FRESHENER?!


.... i drove the rest of the way home in stunned silence. Okay, not exactly true. I was listening to a Lily Allen CD, but usually I'm singing along with it. Good God, man! Yes, the smell is totally offensive, but what got into that pea sized brain of yours to try de-oderizing roadkill???

I think this must be some sort of all time high for freaky instances of Road Hazards R Us. Am I wrong? Do things like this happen to YOU? Am I just special?

What do you think?

Monday, August 9, 2010


Last night I dreamed. Not that this is unusual, but generally my dreams are a lot more ... zombie-horror flick-ish. Bloodshed, mayhem, violence, screaming, breathing closet walls.... etc. Most of them are in vivid color and are too complex to completely remember. Rarely do I have dreams where it's peaceful enough for me to feel at ease, which is what makes last nights dream so unusual... and weird.

From what I can remember, I was floating, probably without a body, and it was quiet, peaceful. I was just drifting in darkness, looking around me, watching stars, planets, galaxies, and a multitude of other entities of space floating with me. There was no weight to drag me down, no worries to cloud my mind... just drifting.

And a little girl's voice, breathy and light with quiet cheer, next to my ear said,"Why do you think there are so many stars, planets and galaxies out here?"

I thought about it a moment, and replied,"I don't know. Why?"

The voice laughed,"These are all of God's trial runs. His mistakes. He made a lot didn't he?" The little girl voice became a bit more expansive and broader in scope, seeming to encompass everything before us, "He made all this, in order to learn how to make Earth in 7 days."

I laughed. "But God doesn't make mistakes supposedly." I stopped wondering if I should tell her that I wasn't a big believer in an all powerful omnipotent being. And that being the case, I didn't believe that the world was made in seven days. I've found that most people ... get odd when I tell them that. (In fact I'm having reservations now about even posting this.) There were also the implications associated with so many mistakes, and if true, it explains a LOT. In general.

I could hear the smirk in her voice as she answered my unspoken criticism, in a sing-song voice,"That's what YOU think."

And I woke up. Weird WEIRD dream. What did I get out of this? That it's alright to make mistakes. You have to learn somehow. I could go in a completely different direction with it, but essentially she wasn't talking about God. She was talking about actions and results. Made a mistake? That's alright. Just figure out what you did wrong in the given situation, and then move on and try again. Don't freak out because you looked stupid, or you lost your job or whatever. Embrace the mistake, Learn from the mistake, Apply that knowledge to the next similar situation. Its just that simple.

As odd as this sound, I know I'm right because the sleeping hind brain hasn't risen from its slumber to raze me with its caustic wit. ... Yet.

.... and yes, I know. You all think I'm totally nuts now, and are wondering if you should even come back to this blog in the future, and risk contamination through reading it.

Its okay. I understand.