31.1.03 6:30 PM | smurfy's law ]

There's a reason I don't name my fish - it's Murphy's Law that once you name a fish, it will die soon after. I knew the law, and yet I blatently went ahead this week and named my fish, cocky in my recent streak of days without a fish death.

It is with great sadness that I report that Frodo (a.k.a "the puffer") passed away some time between 8:30ish this morning and 6:15ish this evening.

He lived a good long three and a half months in my care. Perhaps it was the excitment over live food that finally did him in. He will be missed. I shall not tell you the names of the rest of my fish, for fear of incurring more of Murphy's wrath. (But they are named after LOTR characters. Yeah, I can be a geek sometimes).


27.1.03 12:06 PM | stupid fish ]

Andrew bought me shrimp for our one year anniversary. Tiny little squiggling lively shrimp.

Well, first he bought me fish, since I've been talking about getting a few more for my tank for several months now but have not gotten off my ass to get any. So, since we were passing by the fish store on our way home anyway, we took a little detour and picked up some purty fish for my aquarium. And since we were there (and since he insisted) we also picked up some little ghost shrimp to "keep my puffer company".

Now, if you will think back for a moment here, please, I first got my fish tank sometime in the summer, and promptly lost most of my fish to mysterious deaths over a short period of time. Then I had a streak of good luck with fish, which ended with a streak of no-so-mysterious fish deaths. My fish were being attacked. And the poor puffer was to blame, or so it seemed.

But since I had become attached to the little guy, I wasn't about to punish him for what really was his natural behaviour, so I got a second tank to house him and him alone. But then the algae got a little out of hand and so I cautiously added an algae eater to the tank, who the puffer ignored completely. So far, so good. But the tank looks really lonely with only two fish in it, so after a while I inquired at the fish store as to what might make a good tankmate for the puffer only to be told he would kill everything in the tank - unless I fed him live food every day. Seems the live food distracts them from attacking other fish. But I wasn't keen on keeping live food for him (plus the fact it would mean I would need yet a third tank) so the puffer remained solitary (except for the aforementioned algae eater).

Back to the shrimp. So the shrimp were to be a diversion for the puffer, a little fun since he is suppose to like live food.

Suppose to like live food. Suppose to being the operative word here. I dumped fifteen squiggly little shrimpies in his tank and he ignored them completely. I even held one in my fingers and dangled it above the water, but he wanted nothing to do with it. The barbs in the other tank think the shrimp are just the best thing going, but the puffer just swims about merrily as if they weren't even there.

And yet I somehow think if I got him a proper tankmate he might get a little edgy. Perhaps the shrimp do not present enough of a challenge for my puff.


25.1.03 10:52 AM | the joys of apartment living ]

I'm beginning to feel like "Blondilocks and the Two Cats" here, except instead of porridge, chairs or beds, the obstacle I face is the "too hot-too cold" shower. At first it wasn't so bad, since you don't really need much in the way of hot water during the summer, but over the last few weeks as the bitter cold has settled in, the yo-yo effect has increased, as has the time it takes me to finish my shower since I'm spending half the time not actually *in* the shower but instead cowering in the far end of it trying to escape the scalding or freezing water.

I'd say "At least I have hot water" but some days the hot water disappears for upwards of five or ten minutes so I end up having a cold water shower anyways. Funny how, even when I can't get hot water in the bathroom, I can still get it in the kitchen.


22.1.03 7:59 AM | items on the lam ]

The Toronto Police Department is jumping into the online age: Police to sell seized items on eBay.

At first I thought it would be weird, should you naively bid on something and then recieve an email from a police officer - but of course they are up front about where the items came from and exactly who you are dealing with. Kinda ruins some of the fun.

After a brief glance over the list, the majority of the items are pretty generic - bikes, stereos, clothes. But then there are some like the money counter and the bolt cutters that are just itching to tell their tale of theft and deception.

(I wonder if the security system and safe were things that were stolen or things that belonged to the criminals? Either way, it's funny.)


20.1.03 1:13 PM | it's a buffy thing ]

The journal of The First.


15.1.03 3:46 PM | life lessons ]

I have learned a lesson today and the lesson is this: I should not drive my car to work.

For if I drive my car to work, this prompts the snow goblins to send out their very best blizzards and then I have to go through the hassle of wiping off the car and crawling along the two blocks to my apartment, when, if I had just walked, I could be home in the time it takes me to wipe off the car.

Or I shouldn't live in a town named Waterloo. (You know why it's called Waterloo, right?)


13.1.03 6:42 PM | the saga continues ]

Geez. I'm beginning to feel like Matt Goyer.

So ... aparently the cats did not scare the mouse to death. How do I know? Because the trap was empty when I got home from work. Thankfully, I put the trap in my old fish tank so the mouse is not loose in the house but is instead hiding inside of a smoke alarm box.

I had a hunch that it might not be dead, just the way it wouldn't come out of the trap when I shook it this morning. Of course the thing probably has brain damage now from my efforts to extract it (Either it has really good grip in its little feet or it was stuck to the peanut butter I used to lure it into the trap). But it's alive, for better or for worse. And now I have to figure out what to do with it. Because it's -10 outside and I don't think it's getting much warmer over the next few days and I just can't trade one death (by cats) for another (by freezing) without setting off little guilty bells in my head.

So, for now, it's gonna live in my fish tank until I can think of a sheltered place to release it to. And the traps will remain in case it told any of its mousey friends what a swanky place it found.

8:00 AM | no smell at least ]

R.I.P little mousy.

I woke up this morning to find both traps set off and lying in the middle of the kitchen floor. Since my cats are a little crazy, and I haven't heard from the mouse in almost a week, I considered the fact that my cats might have bumped them and set them off. I picked the first one up - nice and light, definitely empty. I picked the second one up - was it heavier than the first? I picked the first one up with the other hand and see if one feels heavier - kinda close. I tilt the first one back and forth a bit - very easy. I tilt the second one back and forth a bit. Um .. yeah, it's heavier. I put them both back down. My cats take a noticable interest in the second trap, ignoring the first. All my doubts are settled.

I think I'm now beginning to figure out why my cats were so insistent I get up at six this morning.

And despite my work at getting a "no-kill" trap, the sucker seems to have died in there anyway. Perhaps my cats scared it to death with their incessant whining.


10.1.03 5:53 PM | twisted ]

I am convinced that my cats have killed the mouse and hidden it somewhere in a strange game of hide and seek. I have no evidence of this death, more like a lack of evidence - no sightings of the mouse, no sounds of the mouse, and no mouse in my "no-kill" mousetraps. So I expect that soon I will either start seeing cat regurgitations with tiny bits of fur in them, or start smelling something that will lead me to my little "present".

On the other hand, originally I never thought my cats would be bright enough to kill a mouse, so kudos to them!


9.1.03 7:50 AM | mysterious happenings ]

A few months ago, I had a rash of phone calls that disappeared from my answering machine. It didn't always happen, and there was no pattern to the sequence of disappearances, so I blamed it on my five year old answering machine and contemplated buying a new one. Since my answering machine sat on the floor, I did consider the idea that my cats might be accidentally stepping on the machine and hitting play (messages are automatically deleted after being played - you have to specifically save them) but the machine was under my tv stand and pushed all the way back to the wall, leaving little room for a cat to get at it. And I had never seen them go near it before. Then one day, as I was walking in the door, I caught the phone ringing but just a little too late - I had to turn off the machine to get it to stop recording the conversation. Once I had hung up the phone I plugged the machine back in and hit "Play" to listen to the messges from the day. I walked a few feet away and plunked myself down on the couch, only to see an interesting sequence play out before me. My cats were stalking the answering machine. Aparently the sound of voices coming out of thin air brought about their hunting instincts and they were attacking my machine, batting at it with their paws, then pouncing back and setting up for another run. The mystery of the missing messages was solved and shortly thereafter the answering machine was relocated to a shelf on my fish tank stand. No more missing messages (on that machine at least).

In that half-awake, half-asleep state early this morning, I dreamed that my alarm went off, but all the clocks in the apartment had a different time so I didn't know whether the alarm had gone off at the right time or not.

When the alarm finally did go off this morning, it went off nine minutes too late (later than it was prgrammed to). And since it's on the other side of the room, there is no chance one of us hit snooze (which is, conveniently, nine minutes on my clock).

So either I have a dyslexic clock, or my cats have found a new source of disembodied voices to attack and they hit the snooze button for us.

Or maybe it was that pesky mouse who has managed to sneak into my third-floor apartment.


7.1.03 4:21 PM | starfeesh ]

Since I haven't regaled you with any tales of the starfish in our saltwater tank at work for many months now, I figured "what better time to do it than now?"

'Cause we kinda think he's dead.

Now, he normally isn't speedy Gonzales or anything, but he does make his away around the tank in his own sweet time. Saying that, he has been stationary in one corner of the tank since sometime before Christmas and we're beginning to worry just a little.

At first we thought maybe he was just full from a big meal (he was cleaning out one of the shells just before Christmas - I can only assume it had a crab in it) but he normally doesn't take quite this long to recover from a feast.

I thought he was a goner for sure when I saw the shrimp sitting on him one day and using his little claws to pinch him, but then I saw him move his little legs and I thought all was well again. That was friday. He still hasn't moved.

There have been varying other reports that his feet have been spotted moving, but the naysayers have also brought up the fact that this could just be a result of the water current pushing his tiny feet around. His arms are also beginning to curl up in what could be construed as a death contraction, but again, the naysayers have said they are also curling out at some times.

If it was anything but the starfish, we would have known days ago - the starfish could finish off a fish in less than a day - but in this case there is simply is no one else to scavenge the scavenger.

I guess only time will tell.