Farewell to my Fishies

Pack of Pequeninas- Hungry as Usual!This was supposed to be the post where I talk about my brand new planted aquarium.  I’ve been dreaming of this aquarium for years, spent months in planning the plants/substrate/fish, and have spent the last couple of weeks on actually making my dream a reality.

Saturday, I moved my four female bettas from the bare glass, 15-gallon, filterless tank to a beautiful 33-gallon tank full of plants and of baby snails for them to eat.  I was extra careful to test the water parameters so the fish wouldn’t be stressed by the move.  They settled into their new digs in about five minutes and started begging for food!

I’ve had the pequeni?as (a play on a word from Speaker for the Dead) for two years.  We’ve enjoyed watching them and their little hungry personalities, always crowding the upper corner of the tank because that’s where food can be found.  They begged for food more than dogs!!

Female bettas are overlooked as a pet in favor of the longer finned, sometimes more brightly colored, male bettas.  But females can be kept in a group if suitably acclimated and they do not display as much aggression to other community fish.  On the flip side, they are less bullied because they do not have the long, flowing fins to be nipped.  By Sunday night, three of the females were ripe with eggs and two had on breeding stripes.  This indicates that they were adapting extremely well to their new home.

After work on Monday, I came home to pack a dinner and let the dog go outside.  Standing next to the aquarium, I could feel it radiating heat.  With sickness, I felt the glass.  It was hot to the touch.  The water was over 110 degrees F.  The heater had failed in the “on” position and was cooking the tank’s inhabitants.  Panicked, I looked in the aquarium.  All four ni?as were long dead, suffocated by the heat.  The plant leaves had already started to melt.

I spent the evening doing water changes with cold water and ice, finally pulling the temperature back to 76 F.  I couldn’t stop crying about my poor fish and the horrid way they died.  I wrapped them in a pink satin ribbon and disposed of their little bodies (flushing them is a very irresponsible thing to do with a fish; it can spread disease in local water systems).

Lesson learned: I’d read that it was better to have two small heaters in a tank than one larger one.  That way if one fails “on,” it takes longer to reach fatal conditions and it can be stopped.  I’ve ordered two new, smaller heaters that include failure switches so the heater can’t fail “on.”

I’m sure I will stop feeling sad sometime soon, but it’s hard to imagine for now.  Luckily I snapped a couple of pictures of the fish in their new home just a day before they died.  I’m also lucky that this happened in a tank with four fish- not 20, like I have planned for that tank.

Goodbye, sweet ni?as.

Charity of the Month: Indiana House Rabbit Society

Pet me! Love me! FEED ME CILANTRO!I had intended to start doing this last year, but I (as usual) procrastinated. In addition to Carlton’s and my regular charitable donations, I thought I would highlight a worthy cause each month and give an extra donation. Here’s January’s winner.

The Indiana House Rabbit Society (IHRS) has a personal connection for me. My best friend has been an active member of the group for several years. One year on holiday break, she asked me to care for three of her foster rabbits. I was familiar with bunny care from helping her before so it was not totally new. But having them at my own home was new.

Two of the rabbits, a bonded pair named Honey and Felix, were loveable but not extra friendly. However, Silas was very sociable. Carlton and I enjoyed his company, letting him hop around the house (supervised) and eating greens from our hands. I found myself buying special veggies for him at the grocery. He would jump on our laps or at our feet to be petted, and would circle around us madly at pellet feeding time.

After the holiday, he moved out…and we missed him. We decided to go through the adoption process and he moved back to our home for good. He was neutered prior to adoption and, as with all bunnies, spay/neuter contributes to longer life and more even temper.

Several years later, he’s an integrated member of our animal family. His name became Silo as it’s easier to call him that way, though he has several nicknames (such as Nibbler).

House rabbits are not for everyone. They require bunnyproofing the house (they will chew cords and be electrocuted), some are very shy, and they aren’t as sturdy as dogs and cats. To anticipate his needs, we’ve put bamboo mats under the furniture where he likes to dig, we allow him to come to us for interaction, and we use careful methods when he has to be handled.

Silo and Baja having a fireside chat.  They like to sit near each other, sometimes on the same chair.Silo is totally litter trained and is out of his cage most of the day. He likes to hang out with our cat and they will play hide-and-seek for hours. Silo jumps on the bed and puts his front paws on my shoulder (or my face!) to ask for pets. His favorite snack is cilantro, and he likes to sit on the dining room chairs, especially if Mr. Kitty sits on the opposite chair. If Sunny makes Silo mad (usually by stealing his treats), Silo will ambush her, hop on top of her and then run away, leaving the dog completely bewildered.

Silo was found abandoned in a neighborhood. Too many people think it’s OK to release a domestic bun because they see wild bunnies. Domesticated rabbits are not adapted to survive in the harsh weather and are ill-equipped to escape predation and find food.

House rabbits live 7-10 years; outdoor rabbits live 1-4 years. A rabbit in a hutch in someone’s cold back yard will never be as friendly or happy as an indoor bun. Having Silo taught me what great personalities bunnies can have. The longer he lives with us, the more and more loving and trusting he becomes.

Three different species keeping me company while I have the flu.The IHRS has volunteers who work to help find homes for abandoned bunnies, bringing foster rabbits into their homes and paying medical bills out of their own pockets. Some bunnies have been abandoned shortly after Easter, some are found abandoned in neighborhoods; the unluckiest have been neglected and abused.

That’s why I’m giving my January Charity of the Month award to the kind people at IHRS. Please consider donating too!

Memin’ Again

Amy’s fault again, too.

Spell your name without vowels: Krsty Ncl Hrtr

What color do you wear most?: black

What’s for dinner tonite?: veggie fried rice

Are you happy with your life right now?: Absolutely

Tell me a secret about one of your siblings: No

Anyone ever said you resemble a celebrity?: Yes

Last thing you bought over 50 dollars?: My 30 gallon aquarium

How’s the weather?: Cold and blechy

What chores do you have around the house: Straightening and ironing

Finish this sentence. I wish: I had a maid/butler

One word to describe you: Outgoing to a fault

What should you be doing right now?: Aforementioned straightening and ironing

Who did you hug today?: Carlton

What are you listening to right now?: My reef aquarium’s pump humming

Done anything you regret so far this week?: Nope

Describe where you are right now: At a desk in my bedroom

Say one of your friends and an inside joke with them: ACD, when I pick my nose I think of you

How many homes have you lived in? Seven (not counting dorms)

What food did you eat last night?: Spinach penne pasta with parmesan

Do you dress for style or comfort?: style…but sometimes comfort wins

Name someone with the same b-day as you: my first boyfriend’s mom

What is your favorite Michael Jackson song?: Scream

If you could eat one meal for the rest of your life, what would it be?: Salad

What curse word do you use the most?: the f bomb

Do you own an iPod?: No

Have you ever bid for something on Ebay?: Yes

Where do you buy your groceries?: Target

What was the last movie you watched?: Jet Li’s last wushu film

Do you prefer regular or chocolate milk?: Chocolate

Has anyone told you a secret this week?: No

When was the last time someone hit you?: College

Can you whistle?: Yes

Have you ever participated in a protest?: Yes

Who was the last person to call you?: my dad

What is your favorite ride at an amusement park?: Everything- but I’ve only been once!

What is something you must do everyday?: Talk to people

What is your job title?: Quality Associate.  Hello, Wal-Mart!

What do you miss most?: College life

Would you ever sky dive?: Nope

What movie do you know every line to?: The Princess Bride

What color is your bedroom painted?: A cool, textured, custom taupe stripe

Can you skip rocks?: No

Do you sleep on your side, tummy, or back?: Lots of flipping from side to side, ending on stomach

If you were born the opposite sex, what would your name have been? Jeffrey Randall- They were so sure that I didn’t have a name for 5 days

Has anyone ever called you spoiled?: No.  HA HA uh, all the time.  I may be spoiled, but I’m so thankful for all of my blessings

Did you ever go to the same school as your parents?: No

How many hours of sleep do you need to function?: What’s considered functioning, and how many caffeine units?  I’ll go with 5 and 3, respectively

How much is gas where you live right now?: $1.93 per gallon gas

What album did you buy last?: I don’t.  My husband buys ’em for me

How many pairs of shoes do you own?: 35-40

Are your days full and fast-paced?: I love to be driven!

Did you ever get in trouble for talking in class?: No

Were you a “planned??? child?: Not at all

Are you a good dancer?: Eh.

Are you a nice person?: Too nice

The Alphabet

Blame Amy for reigniting my meme habit. 

Are you available?: No
What is your age?: 33
What annoys you?: Carelessness

Do you live in a big house?: Yes

When is your birthday?: 29 September
Who is your best friend? Family members excluded, ACD

What’s your favorite candy?: Really dark chocolate

Who’s your crush?: Ron Livingston (ask again in 5 minutes)

When was the last time you cried? Monday

Do you daydream?: All the time.  It fuels me
What’s your favorite kind of dog?: Maltese
What day of the week is it?: Friday

How do you like your eggs?: Organic and free range
Have you ever been in the emergency room?: Monday

What’s the easiest thing ever to do? Be careless

Have you ever flown in a plane?: Yes
Do you use fly swatters?: No
Have you ever used a foghorn? No.

Do you chew gum?: No

Are you a giver or a taker?: Too much of both
Do you like gummy candies?: Waste of calories

How are you?: Tired
What’s your height?: 5’6″
What colour is your hair?: Blondish

What’s your favourite ice cream?: Mint chocolate chip or cherry cordial
Have you ever ice skated?: Yes
Would you live in an igloo? Never

What’s your favourite jelly bean?: Coconut
Have you ever heard a really hilarious joke?: Yes
Do you wear jewelry?: Yes.

Who do you want to kill?: People who take out their frustrations on lesser or weaker beings

Do you want kids?: Not really, but if it happens…

Where did you have kindergarten? Columbus, Indiana

Are you laid back?: HA HA HA ahem, no.
Do you lie?: Sometimes
Have you ever been to London?: Twice

What’s your favourite movie?: LoTR Trilogy
Do you still watch Disney movies?: Sometimes

What type of music you listen to?: Alternative/Pop/Rock/Top 40

Do you have a nickname?: A million.  Nee-cola, Picky, Pickle, Krystal-Belle, Pick, Brat, Pirhana, K-Nick, Sweethoven,….

Favourite number?: 10 (my name was always tenth alphabetically in grade school)

Do you prefer night over day? Yes

What’s your one wish?: An end to cruelty
Are you an only child?: Nope. Baby of three
Do you wish this was over?: Never.  I love quizzes!

What one fear are you most paranoid about?: Losing a family member
Do you love the colour pink?: eh.  Depends on shade
Are you a perfectionist? Yes

Are you quick to judge people? Yes, and usually regret when my judgement is harsh
Do you wish you were a Queen?: No
Have you ever rode a quad? Huh?

Do you think you’re always right?: Usually
Do you watch reality TV: Never
What’s a good reason to cry?: Whatever pain is real to the crier

Do you prefer sun or rain?: Rain
Do you like snow?: Heck no
What’s your favourite season? Fall- chilly and crisp

What time is it?: 2041
What time did you wake up?: 0330 (too busy daydreaming about my aquarium)

When was the last time you slept in a tent? Um…..age 12?

Do you own an umbrella?: Several
Can you ride a unicycle?: No
Have you ever said someone was ugly?: Yes

What’s the worst veggie?: Zucchini

Where do you want to go on vacation?: Anywhere

Where was your last family vacation to? Charleston South Carolina

What’s your worst habit?: Overcommitting
Where do you live?: Indianapolis Indiana
Who’s your hero?: My parents

Have you ever had an x-ray?: Yes
Have you seen the x-games?: No
Do you own a xylophone?: No

Do you like the colour yellow?: It’s my favorite

What year were you born in?: 1973
What’s one thing you yearn for?: Enough money to open a cruelty-free aquarium store

What’s your zodiac sign?: Libra
Do you believe in the zodiac?: It’s against my religion and silly anyway
What’s your favourite zoo animal?: Zoos are mean

Miami Vice directed by Michael Mann

Cover ArtIMDb link

As a child of the eighties, Miami Vice was one of my favorite shows.  Cool people, hot guns, heart-pounding music…it was the definition of cool.

I was relieved and worried that Michael Mann, the original producer, was on board with the movie.  Mann had an opportunity and a budget to make the movie all that he wished the show could have been- hotter people, hotter cars, better effects.  This is a dangerous proposition, as those elements (while horrendously fun) do not by themselves make a good movie, as we have woefully seen from George Lucas.  This film was not just a redux of the original.  Mann created the new century vision of Vice with plenty of traction and feel from the original.  The script actually gave the actors good material.

On the negative side, the casting for Crockett’s love interest was horrid.  She was supposed to be from Cuba but was obviously Asian and had a purely Asian accent.  There was no reason not to cast a Latina or at least any actor who could master the accent.  Li’s thick Asian accent was so bad in some scenes that we rewound several times and still could not understand her.  I didn’t buy her as the ultra-hot woman that everyone wants, either.  While she was very attractive, her costuming included a dress that looked like eighties chintz curtains and her makeup made her lips look chapped and her eyes tired.  Her scenes with Crockett were the only ones that looked somewhat forced.

Much as I dislike Colin Farrell, kudos for being able to act in a washed out pseudo-mullet.  And Jamie Kennedy owned the Tubbs role in a way that was totally different from the original.  Don’t miss the DVD special features where Farrell recaps his experience training with real vice cops on a drug sting.  A fantastic story for fans and for haters like me.

This is an average intelligence, average sex appeal movie with a fun background, great soundtrack, and plenty of thrills for Vice fans of old.

[rate 3]


Last Holiday directed by Wayne Wang

last_holiday.JPGIMDb Link

I saw this film several months ago, so please pardon the fuzzy recall.

The plot begins with Georgia Byrd (Queen Latifah) as a woman unable to experience life. She loves to cook but feeds the fruits of her lbors to a neighborhood kid. She has a crush on a guy (LL Cool J) but can’t ask him on a date. She meticulously saves her money but never spends any on herself.

After a nasty fall at work (a job she despises for good reason), she receives news that she has a rare brain condition and has only three weeks to live. With no family to speak of, she decides to blow her life’s savings. She goes to the restaurant of her dreams, eats with the decadence of Marie Antoinette, and lives for the first time. She stops to view beauty all around her and proverbially smell the roses. This is all rather textbook, but it has some nice touches I like. For example, she becomes more outgoing, but in a gentle, kind way that would explain her new magnetism. Most people throwing around that kind of money quickly learn they can be rude to other people who serve them. Instead, she takes moments to show them the magnificence of life that surrounds them.

Many of the movie’s themes surround food. As somewhat of a foodie myself, this element of the movie was very enticing. I love chopping, sautéing, and all manner of cooking challenges. Master chefs all know that one of the crucial elements of successful cooking is tasting each dish and adjusting seasonings accordingly. Watching Georgia refuse to eat her own creations was frustrating. The thing I found interesting about the point-counterpoint of her cooking is that before the diagnosis, she followed each recipe to the letter. After, she was tasting, adjusting, and not just cooking…she was creating. Crafting unique recipes leads to incredible satisfaction; it’s not just that the dish is tasty, but also that one can share the experience with others by serving the new creation.

I thought that Last Holiday was going to be all comedy, but I was wrong. The movie is pure Hollywood: perfect hair and makeup on everyone, a trite message, and a requirement for a healthy dose of suspension of disbelief. Add a dash of the storybook ending and you have nice, tidy movie.

[rate 2.5]