Monday, June 26, 2006

Does This Bike Make My Butt Look Fast?

so... as i said in my last update, i had the rest of the week tightly planned. tuesday, i hung out with mom and we had a fantastic day of r&r. we went to the tejanita seafood restaurant and had shrimp cocktail for brunch (envision a bloody mary with huge boiled gulf shrimp and pico de gallo and limes in it), followed by X-Men 3 in the theater (maybe not as good as x-2,, but overall a good film), followed by salty-lime smoothies (basically, a virgin margarita in a cup the size of Sonic's Route 44 drinks), and then pedicures! yea! then, we rented movies and watched 16 Blocks (Bruce Willis does NOT look like himself in that movie, and Mos Def has a very annoying accent but delivers great acting, as always), followed by The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe. i'd heard from other people that it wasn't up to the standard set by the book, but since i read the books when i was in 4th grade, it lived up to the foggy memories i had. it hit all the high points and was beautiful to watch, at any rate.

wednesday, i worked on my fish tank and then had swim-time with a friend of mine. i had bought some new rocks and plants and such for my tank, and i wanted to put them in. the new gravel is a mish-mash of reds, pinks, and purples which goes very well with my plants, which are green and red. i had to get the fish out so i could get the gravel in, so that meant i had to get a bunch of water out, too. i used my gravel vacuum to siphon a bunch of water into my largest cooler. that didn't look like enough, though. not that i didn't think my fish would fit in there, but i had to net all my fish out of the tank. it's easier to chase the little boogers down when they don't have much water to run and hide in. so i had to get the water level pretty low just to make the process of catching them easier. so i got my next-biggest cooler out and used it, as well. then i decided i could get more water into both of the coolers, so i siphoned off a little more. that accounted for about 75% of the water in my 45 gallon tank, and i was very pleased with myself. i should've known, at that point, i'd made a mistake. as they say, though, experience is knowledge you acquire five minutes after you needed it. i netted out the fish and put them all into the big cooler. then i started pulling out the rocks and stuff that were in there. there were also a few adventures with the electricity, the tank lid, the light, the bubbler, and the filter, but they don't make for a good story. i'll just say that i spent some time jacking around with all that gear before i ever got to the good part, which was putting the new stuff in the tank. just before i got to add the new rocks to the tank, i looked over to check on my fish and noticed there was one in the smaller cooler.


i had, as previously stated, put them ALL in the large cooler. and as i was looking over and noticing this stray fish in the small cooler and pondering how he got there, he jumped right out of the small cooler and onto the table it was sitting on. EEP! so i dashed over and caught him gently and replaced him into the large cooler. you'd think at this point that i'd close the lid on the cooler, right? NO! so i added the gravel to the tank, mixed it in, put in the new plants (they look fabulous, btw) and turned around to see a fish on the carpet next to me. *gasp!* i picked him up, pulled the dog hair off him and put him back in the cooler. he was okay, it seemed, as he swam off. i had another adventure adding a new bubbler column to my undergravel filter, seeing as how i was missing a part i needed. i had to improvise some tubing foo, but by this point i'd been on the phone with my swimming buddy a couple of times and i didn't have time to get over to my Local Fish Store (LFS) before i went to swim. i looked over in time to see the SAME FISH leaping again out of the small cooler and onto the table top, so i rescued him again and still failed to close the lid on the cooler. i got all the large, decorative pieces back into the tank and added the new hunk o' driftwood (supah-fly!) and then started putting the water back in.

it's not as easy to siphon water INTO a tank as it is to siphone water OUT of a tank. in fact, unless you have a jackstand, it's nigh impossible to get the water in the cooler up high enough to make a siphon that'll put it back in the tank. so i siphoned the water out of the coolers and into my 3-gallon water-change bucket and poured it back into the tank.
there was a lot of water to be moved. i siphoned out of the big cooler first, hoping to keep any more fish from committing suicide. in the process of getting water back into the tank and getting the filter running, i did find one fish who'd managed to jump out and die and dry off completely before i found him. burial at sea. back to business. so, tank reassembled, electrical power restored, bubbles bubbling, rocks and plants and driftwood and fish all in place, it occurred to me that i might've just buried my snails. oops.

i know i mentioned that i had two snails. i got them as a kind of bonus when i bought my day-glo tetras. what i've noticed since then is that i have FOUR snails. this leads me to the conclusion that some of my snails are reproducing. i know for absolute certain fact that i've only put two in there, but i also know beyond any shade of doubt that there are four snails in there now, at least. there's a giant brown one, a medium brown one, a tiny brown one, and a spotted one. i hoped that i hadn't killed them and went off to swim.

swam. yea! good times visiting and swimming, even though it was cut short by a call to duty. my friend went to work, and i stopped by the LFS to get the part i was missing for my second bubbler column. parts purchased, i went on home and rigged up my second bubbler. yea! found another pescicide victim. i have to assume he jumped of his own accord and wasn't thrown out of the cooler by his buddies, but he was dead and dry and looking kinda like something you'd find in a plastic baggie in an ethnic grocery store by the time i found him. still no snails. burial at sea. good night's sleep.

woke up early and hit the road for my motorcycle safety class. yee-haw! i learned how to drive a motorcycle! two days of class. i had a great time, i only dropped the bike once, and i passed the test. i survived the early morning starts (i had to BE THERE, ready to go, at 7 am. feel my pain.) with the assistance of good coffee and a good sense of humor. the class was great, i recommend it highly. ( that afternoon, i went down to the dps office, took my written test, and got my M endorsement on my driver's license. yea! the only bad thing is that i DID have helmet-hair for my picture. ah, well. at least i'm not wearing the same plaid shirt that i've had on in my last three license photos. the license always expires in january, on my birthday, and for the last three photos i've been wearing the same red plaid flannel shirt. as mild as the winters are here, it doesn't get much wear, but once i realized that i'd worn it in three consecutive license pictures, i retired the shirt. it's gone.

anyway, after two days of intense concentration in the summer sun, i was wiped out. so i took a nap. when i woke up, i went and checked on my tank and found -- my snails! yea! i saw all four of them at various points in the evening. i did find that one of my fish had died and been caught on the filter intake. or got caught on the filter intake and died, not sure what order it happened in. i think it was probably the guy who got dog hair stuck to him. fish are notoriously fragile and that sort of trauma is usually deadly. i managed, with some considerable effort, to net him out of the tank and bury him at sea, as well. i also checked my mail and discovered that my new work gear had arrived. i've got an all-in-one print-fax-scanner thingie, a wireless router, and a laptop. whee! cool new toys!

saturday, i spent the day shopping for motorcycles. i found three that really "fit" well... A Honda VTX1300C, a Yamaha RoadStar, and a Suzuki Boulevard C90T. Also notable were the Yamaha Stratoliner and RoyalStar, and of course the one I drool for but have yet to straddle, the Honda Valkyrie. i haven't gotten to sit on it because it's been discontinued and i haven't found a used one yet that i could flirt myself into the saddle of. i'm working on it, though. i've definitely got the bug and want to buy something, but i'm waiting to get the new job situation settled and finances straight before i do it. and i need to sit on a valk so i can get it out of my system. either i'll sit on it and love it and go buy one, or it won't fit right and won't be comfortable and i can then move on to one that does fit me.

saturday night, my girlfriend and i went to see "Turtles and Tuna" at the Majestic in downtown Dallas. WOW!!! that was a funny show. it was the Turtle Creek Chorale as backup singers for Joe Sears and Jaston Williams, the "Greater Tuna" actors. they did a sendup of all things smalltown and southern, with an emphasis on the local Dallas flavor of the thing. highlights: the cattle stampede, the Strangerettes tryout, and the "Baptist On The Roof" spoof of "Fiddler On The Roof". yee-haw!

sunday, i slept. a lot. and i ate. and then i slept some more. wrapped up the night with a rousing game of WoW and then i slept some more.

today, i start the new job. wish me luck!

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