Print Story The weekend that was.
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By nightflameblue (Mon Dec 07, 2009 at 11:49:09 AM EST) (all tags)
Yet another weekend of no time to sit and chill.


Mrs. NFB's car is playing hinky with us. My guess would be the battery got all hosed up when she went through the whole fuel system shut down problem and now it can't hold a charge in the cold. Hope that's what it is, as it's a cheap fix. Now for a day where it's warm enough I can actually get the battery swapped out without losing fingers in the process.

Having a garage would be pretty cool. Or, not quite as cool as not having a garage this time of year.

--

LLT upped the awesome this weekend. She took a shining to her wet hide, which I had been told over and over again, by expert after expert, both online and off, that Leopard Geckos only need during shed time. Well, she liked it all the time. And far be it from me to deprive one of our not human children. So, since they ugly red bowl with a hole cut in it filled with even uglier paper towels moistened every couple days with a spray bottle was just plain eyesore material, I decided to do something about it.

So I went looking for commercial hides designed to provide a wet/moist environment for smaller reptiles. Failtastic everywhere I looked. Most of them are either way too big, or way too small. One looked like it might fit, but had the access for the reptile in the top. She could easily get in, but I don't know that she'd ever get back out without help.

So, in typical me fashion, I went and grabbed a standard issue flat hide. Then I took it out to the shed and cut a floor with the dremel out of styrene to fit it. I sanded the styrene down with 200 grit to rough it up a bit, wet sanded the edges with 400 grit to take off any rough bits and lose any flash left. I thought about making a tiny lip at the entrance to hold in the bedding, but in the end decided to wait and see how she handles it the way it is.

Grabbed a bag of some special grade vermiculite stuff, soaked it, set up the floor, put wet vermiculite all around it, then set it up with the hide as a lid after her weekly enclosure cleaning. After about a half-hour the floor heat caused the moisture to begin to "steam up" and the ceiling of the hide began to collect water drops. These drops seem to be her favorite method of drinking. And she LOVES digging in the vermiculite. Makes a much better bed for her than paper towels.

And, after all that, she rewarded us with two things. She went through another shed, during the day while we were mostly present. Then, she ate a cricket right in front of us. She stalked it, sat perfectly still for a moment, then her little tail shot up in the air and she lunged. No more cricket. I knew she'd been doing it, but it's the first time we got to witness it first hand.

She's a tiny bit upset each morning when I just do a quick once over of the enclosure and don't pick her up to give her babyfood, but she's doing a good job feeding herself. She's still getting a tiny bit of baby food each evening right before we head off to bed, but we're tapering that off too. I've caught her licking at her powdered calcium twice more, and as noted above she's been taking water from the droplets formed on her new hide's ceiling. Essentially, she's gone from being entirely reliant on us for every bit of food and vitamins to taking care of her own needs. It was a big step this past week when we started to cut off her morning feedings, but it seems to be paying off.

And no longer do the vet's words of warning, "you've got a long road ahead of you" seem so threatening. In fact, aside from the stubby regrown tail, you really can't tell she was ever neglected. She's getting a bit of a belly, and is pretty active when we're around. Good things.

In not so good news, the fish fiasco has ended. Badly. The rasboras that survived quarantine and didn't appear to be harboring any other signs of problems were moved to the big tank. By the time I got up the next morning, the old-timers were obviously sick. No idea what this disease was. It was rasbora specific, as no other fish showed any signs of problems. The rasboras would slowly begin to freeze up, and breathe rapidly. Within a few hours, they'd be dead. It's like they were attacked by something that made them paralyzed, to the point where they couldn't even breathe.

The last of them left us less than twenty-four hours after contact with the new fish. The new ones succumbed the next day while I was at work. All that is currently left are the ottos, and the cory cats in the quarantine tank. All seem healthy, are eating well, and show no signs of problems. Water tests all checked out in both tanks. And the dealer again says they were shocked I was able to get any of that shipment to live as long as I did.

And I feel I'm a failure as a fishkeeper.

It's the first time since I started to understand aquarium basics that I've had such a problem with one. And even though I understand the new ones were doomed before I got them, I don't understand why I was stupid enough to believe they were over the hump since they had been doing so good. Hindsight, 20/20 and all that, but damn. Me = dumb and lives were lost because of it. If not for the success of our little LLT, I'd be seriously doubting my animal skills at the moment.

--

Have an outside of work job in the works that could provide for a nice little income boost in the next couple months. BB and I will be working together on it. It sounds pretty promising. Nothing huge and major, but enough to justify charging like a contractor. And that's good times right there.

--

Mrs. NFB heard my last few demos this weekend and started in on how her and her family love my stuff. Well, see, I'm partially of the opinion that they love my stuff because they love me. It's easy to hear something from someone you care about and go, "wow, I didn't know YOU could do that?!" But if you heard the same thing from some random stranger, the reaction would obviously be less thrill-tastic.

I like the ego-stroke, and I'll keep doing what I do. But her ideas on it are along the lines that my ideas were when I was a teen. It's nice to have the support of a spouse telling you you could be a rock star, unfortunately I'm about twenty years past thinking that would even be close to doable myself. I'm a dude with a microphone and guitar in the back room. I'm never gonna be that guy.

</Nick Andopolis>

But hey, I'll don the guitfiddle and sing for my baby anytime she wants. THAT I can do.

In my nightclub for one. Yeah.

< Stuck inside of Nashville with the intermittent firmware blues | It's tough, kid, but it's LIFE. >
The weekend that was. | 25 comments (25 topical, 0 hidden) | Trackback
Thinking of new fish soon by littlestar (2.00 / 0) #1 Mon Dec 07, 2009 at 01:53:19 PM EST
our last bout of fish were unfortunately sent to that big pond in the sky when the little man put detergent in the water. Popsicle and I had put some time in effort into that tank and haven't started one since. I guess, really I haven't started one since, she asks me weekly. I had saved those fish from diseases and strange things being dumped in their tank, but the detergent was too much for them. But, oddly, reading about you having trouble makes me feel ready again, you know, shit happens to everyone sort of thing. Perhaps I was feeling inadequate. '

Also, you are a rockstar, just not a famous one. I also have trouble believing compliments from family, which is kind of unfair, because they could have valid opinions (mebbe they would love your music even if they didn't know you, you don't know they're just being nice). I say, believe it all! Or, if you want realer opinions, let me hear it, I'll tell ya'!  ; )

*twinkle*twinkle*


Fishies and such. by nightflameblue (2.00 / 0) #2 Mon Dec 07, 2009 at 02:14:10 PM EST

The real kicker to me is the amount of time those poor little rasboras spent in a somewhat cramped tank. They move into a nice big ocean-like (to them) home, get all comfy, and then this happens. We have the cory cats and the ottos left. I'm thinking I may wait a few weeks and then try some live bearers just to see. Haven't had those in a long time.

As for rock stardom? I suppose there's a history there that causes an instant recoil in my system. I wanna do things, but mostly for me. A bit masturbatorial I suppose, but WTH? I'm way past the fame and fortune schtick. It'd be cool to make some money from it, sure, but I know better.

The song that made her make her comment is actually the most embarrassing one I've done. There's a falsetto bit in it that makes me want to put my head through the nearest window. My voice is shaky, quaking, quivering, with no real strength behind it. It sounds lost and aimless. That's the part that made her all giddy.

Still nice to have her support. But after three times of being told my mother-in-law thinks my voice is sexy, I'm a little too shell-shocked to want to hear from the rest of the family anymore. *SHUDDER* Just, no.



[ Parent ]
BWAHAHAHAHAH by littlestar (2.00 / 0) #3 Mon Dec 07, 2009 at 03:50:09 PM EST
Sexy! Yeah, that would be a bit peculiar. I bet those parts are the nicest parts you know, often a quiver is sexy it shows emotion and fragility - chicks love that shit. Now of course I want to hear it EVEN MORE. And who needs fame and fortune, that has never been a great draw for me. I do however love singing for people, sharing that vulnerability, making them feel things. It is precious.

I had live bearers before, they were so cool, had some babies, ate some babies, some babies made it into the baby tank and back and lived lovely little lives. Very neat-o.



*twinkle*twinkle*


[ Parent ]
Alright. by nightflameblue (2.00 / 0) #4 Mon Dec 07, 2009 at 04:48:07 PM EST

I don't really mind sharing. Not my best work. A quick and very ragged cover of a song I'd only known for a week when I recorded it. Parts of it make me hate my voice.

The coolest fish I ever kept, and would love to keep again, were Brichardi/Princess of Burundi. They used to be Brichardi, now I think they're called, um, let's see here. . .oh, right, they're now considered a morph of Neolamprologus Pulcher, but still referred to as "Princess" in the aquarium stores. They, as a group, take care of all their own young. Never have to remove them from the parent tank. They simply go about breeding, the babies are cared for until they are self-sufficient, then they breed again and the juveniles take care of the next batch of babies along with the parents.

I started with eight of them, and ended up with something like sixty of them before I started trading them back to the store. Little busy-bodies too. Constantly digging and rearranging stones.

I'd love to have them again, but their water requirements are directly opposed to what our current residents require.



[ Parent ]
Thanks! by littlestar (2.00 / 0) #11 Tue Dec 08, 2009 at 09:32:09 AM EST
I'm so glad that you took the plunge and let me hear it, I know it can be hard to let people hear stuff that's not perfect. In fact, I personally generally don't, as most people (non musicians) don't really know how to listen to it, and inevitably come back with, well, it's ok but there some parts where you're off. D-uh.

Anyway, I don't know the song but I think it sounds pretty good. I definitely understand them liking your voice. You DO have a nice voice, it can certainly be sexy. And, you can know for sure, that I'm not just saying that. And, more then that, that I'm a vocal teacher and have heard LOTS of people sing. You hate the parts where you sing high, is that right? Or if not, I'm curious which parts you don't like yourself. I'd like to hear more stuff, like something that you think is good that you've done. See, I like it too!

*twinkle*twinkle*


[ Parent ]
It's the double-break by nightflameblue (2.00 / 0) #12 Tue Dec 08, 2009 at 11:08:19 AM EST
The first part where you hear high vocals on one side and normal vocals on the other side. Though the side-split is pretty minimal to keep from making it feel like your head is going boingy if you listen on headphones, you can hear the split. I just hear bad things there. Things that, so far anyway, no one else has commented on, but the type of thing that, if I were doing this to an acceptable permanent state I would definitely be fixing. Or dropping. One of those.

Sadly, I don't have a lot of clean vocals recorded that are currently up online. I have the stuff I've posted here that seems to have been ignored for the most part. I figured that was just because it all sucked ballz and everybody was being too polite to say anything. Most of it's been deleted off the interwebz for being space-wasting. I do have my little project done at my wife's request up yet. Josie Be Good was something she begged me to do and finally bribed me to do by buying me a microphone. That song is more about trying to fit my voice to a style of music than about trying to "sing," but it's also the one that prompted the "sexy" comment from the mother-in-law the first time around. Still causes shudders.

When I hear my voice I always hear the pitchiness and the little misses here and there. Probably self-critical because I used to have good control. Sixteen years of never singing anywhere but the car has changed that a bit.

Thanks for listening and offering an opinion. It's especially helpful when it comes from someone who actually listens to voices on a regular basis with an ear towards teaching.



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Hahah... cool by littlestar (2.00 / 0) #13 Tue Dec 08, 2009 at 01:02:43 PM EST
That is SO sweet! Is that your daughter's name? Ingrid and I were trying to figure out if it was a daughter or wife. Just for the record, Ingrid really liked it! I think you did a fine job of that song (and super cute lyrics), but I do think I would prefer more of the quieter, slightly less rockier songs for your voice from the little I've heard. I will have to keep watch and make sure to listen if I see more of your stuff up for the masses.

*twinkle*twinkle*


[ Parent ]
Puppy daughter. by nightflameblue (2.00 / 0) #14 Tue Dec 08, 2009 at 01:22:13 PM EST
So yeah, daughter in a way.

The great conundrum of my life has always been my music. I love the fast/heavy stuff musically, and like clean, harmonized vocals. Put those two together and you get something that about three people in the world would ever want to listen to. Metal guys rail against anything that's not cookie monster/screamy/grit-voice and people that do like clean vocals don't want to hear chugga-chugga.

I keep thinking I'll find a middle-ground between those extremes that works all the way around. Hasn't really happened yet. I've heard a lot of "you should really put some edge in your voice" and a lot of, "could you back off the harshness in the instrumentation" in my time.



[ Parent ]
Hmmm by littlestar (2.00 / 0) #15 Tue Dec 08, 2009 at 01:52:28 PM EST
I love hard and I love harmony. The thing is, what we are BEST at isn't always what we LIKE the best. Know what I mean? I LOVE singing all sorts of music, hip hop, jazz, alternative, rock, blues, classical and so forth. But, for sure some kinds of music suit me better, or use me to my full potential if you like. In hard rock you have to REALLY let yourself go. That is like, totally, give it with every word, pushing confidently; which means you have to be really relaxed and confident and comfortable with that. Like in that song you did you weren't totally into it all the way like you would have been in concert right? And you can hear that, doesn't make it suck, just makes it like you can tell it's held back a bit; like mebbe you were a bit embarassed about the whole thing, and hearing that you had your arm twisted into doing it makes that a likely tale I would think. You are self critical obviously, as I am, and I know that it holds me back sometimes. I am worried about just letting go (which you HAVE to do with hard stuff) cause I'm worried about the wobbles or off parts. But, of course, until you practice a lot letting go it never becomes comfortable. I have just improved my rock voice a fair bit by practicing singing Pink songs for this possible stupid band that some crazy lady is putting together. Ok, sorry, tangent.

Anyway, I LOVE Jesus and Mary Chain, and they are all harsh music and sweet harmonies (although it IS hard to hear the boys sometimes in the early stuff). Or, Sisters of Mercy, also love them, and Radiohead, lots of beautiful harmonies and thrash or Coldplay even. That IS the sort of stuff I was thinking of you singing, but I don't know if that's what you're thinking of of course. I like the texture in your voice, I always think if I'd like to sing with people when I hear them (I'm singer, what can I say) and I would definitely like to sing with you.

*twinkle*twinkle*


[ Parent ]
Those bands you list? by nightflameblue (2.00 / 0) #16 Tue Dec 08, 2009 at 02:27:19 PM EST
Those are all quite a bit on the lighter side of what I enjoy musically. Musically, I play best (guitar/bass) things along the lines of Testament, Metallica and the newer things like Dethklok, Chimaira. Vocally, I end up being more comfortable with smooth singing. The two can mesh well, as there were a few bands doing it at the end of the eighties. Heathen is the first one that comes to mind, though they suffered from production that tended to destroy the smoothness of the vocals on recorded things. Live they were incredible. Wall-of-sound vocal harmonies over destructive chaotic musicality.

And yeah, there were parts of that song that I dove onto and went all out. Parts of it just sort of fell short of all out. Mostly because it's so not my thing. Which is odd to say, as I've been known to do everything from Celtic Folk to death metal. Somehow classic rock just never suits me. And the growly voice thing that I'm expected to do in my metal songs just feels off to me. And if you don't go all out with a growl, it just sounds craptastic.

Another thing that bothers me is I've always been about finding my thing musically. It's a constant moving target, and half the time I don't even know where it's headed.

And I hear you on the band thing. It always seems like such a good idea in the moment. And then comes rehearsal and four or five different people all thinking everybody else is doing it wrong. Add in my usual genre and you get the added bonus of at least half the people present being stoned and/or drunk and pissed off those that did show up to play are too good to drink with them. Good times.

Oops. That's another rant.

And thanks for saying you'd like to sing with me. Maybe we can do some harmonies on some weirdness some day?



[ Parent ]
A thought on going "all out." by nightflameblue (2.00 / 0) #17 Tue Dec 08, 2009 at 02:50:44 PM EST
This just occurred to me. My olden-times, back when I actually sang on a regular basis for any reason other than self-entertainment, I almost always had over a hundred (tube) watts of guitar behind me with three hundred or more watts of bass. It's hard to NOT go all out when every chord you heard was a physical presence.

I have a REALLY hard time recapturing that feeling when I'm recording in the back room with my headphones on. It's one of the biggest problems for me. My chosen music is loud and ridiculously over the top. My chosen lifestyle is not any of that. Yet another conundrum I've faced most of my musical life.



[ Parent ]
Loud accomp. by littlestar (2.00 / 0) #18 Tue Dec 08, 2009 at 04:00:54 PM EST
Yeah, it is WAY easier to rock out with a rock band behind you. No doubt about that. I miss having a great guitarist around to play with me so I can try stuff out. And now I often wish for a drummer, just you know, to live in my closet or something and pop out as needed.

*twinkle*twinkle*


[ Parent ]
Drummers. by nightflameblue (2.00 / 0) #19 Tue Dec 08, 2009 at 04:20:07 PM EST
I've known one drummer in my entire life that was worth anything at all as a person or a musician. I hate to give in to the stereotypes, but I can honestly say I'll likely never work with another living, breathing drummer again because DAMN did I get tired of their crap.

Again, that's probably another rant. Let's just say there's connections with the alcohol/drug thing and the drummer thing and leave it at that.



[ Parent ]
yay for LLT! by LilFlightTest (2.00 / 0) #5 Mon Dec 07, 2009 at 06:03:43 PM EST
You should drop in at the vet with her- I bet the vet would be impressed.

we're considering a fish shopping trip soon, but i'm too afraid to introduce new fish into the big tank. I have three large clown loaches in there, and i'm afraid of putting anything in there that hasn't lived disease free in another tank for many months. I'd love a couple more loaches, actually, i think a 75 can handle another couple, considering how much they love to snuggle, but those would be a lot more work to introduce.
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if de-virgination results in me being able to birth hammerhead sharks, SIGN ME UP!!! --misslake

We have an appointment this weekend. by nightflameblue (2.00 / 0) #6 Mon Dec 07, 2009 at 10:01:42 PM EST
Mr. and Miss kitten are up for their yearlies at that vet. We're thinking about taking LLT along, but it's so cold right now we're not sure how we'd keep her warm enough. He may have to make do with a picture until warmer weather in the spring.

I have to say I'm very gun shy on fishies right now. The big tank looks bare as can be, but I think there's gonna be some time to make sure whatever it was that knocked out the rasboras doesn't take out the next additions. At least our little cories are as active and crazy as cories ever are.



[ Parent ]
one of our tanks by LilFlightTest (2.00 / 0) #7 Mon Dec 07, 2009 at 10:25:11 PM EST
has a weird unidentifiable disease-thing that nobody's ever heard of. any female fish that goes in that tank will eventually (not immediately) become extremely bulbous, almost like she has dropsy, but she won't be all pine-coney like dropsy is. she'll do okay like that for months, then gradually start to have swim bladder issues. or not. but they get all weird and swollen. the males are all fine. we're not sure what the hell is going on. any other tank i'd totally tear down and sanitize, but that's my planted tank, so i'd have to uproot the plants, sanitize them, and completely redo the substrate. annoying.

i'd love to put more fish in there, but i'm afraid.
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if de-virgination results in me being able to birth hammerhead sharks, SIGN ME UP!!! --misslake

[ Parent ]
Yikes. by nightflameblue (2.00 / 0) #8 Mon Dec 07, 2009 at 11:49:36 PM EST
OK, that ranks right up there with what we've got going on here for weirdness. It'd be nice if fish diseases were something that you could call in a specialist on like you can with most land-bound pets.

[ Parent ]
and weirder... by LilFlightTest (2.00 / 0) #9 Tue Dec 08, 2009 at 08:11:59 AM EST
nobody has ever heard of anything like it. it started with an angelfish. she looked like she was loaded with eggs, and then never laid any. i figured she got egg-locked or something...but she continued to be that way, then something went wrong with her swim bladder and she spent the next year (a whole year, i'm not kidding) swimming mostly upside down. then a couple of livebearers got more bulbous than usual...so it's not just egg-layers...and then some danio had the issue...the only thing i can think of is a weirdass manifestation of fishy TB, but it's all just very odd. no other tank has issues.
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if de-virgination results in me being able to birth hammerhead sharks, SIGN ME UP!!! --misslake
[ Parent ]
Very strange. by nightflameblue (2.00 / 0) #10 Tue Dec 08, 2009 at 08:37:04 AM EST
I wonder if it's something that would go away if the tank went fishless for a few months? Not that I know if that's an option or not, but you never know.

[ Parent ]
we came very close to fishless... by LilFlightTest (2.00 / 0) #20 Tue Dec 08, 2009 at 05:50:13 PM EST
then discovered that there were two danio in there who apparently hatched there after we moved the tank to the new house.
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if de-virgination results in me being able to birth hammerhead sharks, SIGN ME UP!!! --misslake
[ Parent ]
Danios are amazing that way. by nightflameblue (2.00 / 0) #21 Tue Dec 08, 2009 at 10:41:49 PM EST
I had a group in a tank years ago, took them out to put in my other big tank and moved the original tank to the other end of the house. Several weeks later, after a fishless cycle, and before I'd added any fish, I noticed something in there. Baby danios. I felt bad about doing the cycle thing with them in there, but apparently it didn't bother them.

[ Parent ]
weirdest thing? by LilFlightTest (2.00 / 0) #22 Wed Dec 09, 2009 at 10:50:34 PM EST
it was about three MONTHS before we noticed the teeny little guys in there. they're amazing survivalists.
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if de-virgination results in me being able to birth hammerhead sharks, SIGN ME UP!!! --misslake
[ Parent ]
Neat. by nightflameblue (2.00 / 0) #23 Thu Dec 10, 2009 at 08:30:53 AM EST
I noticed we've got a white worm outbreak of some kind in the big tank last night. Haven't seen that since I had mom feed my fish for me when I went on vacation. Must have mis-judged a feeding or two. They always seem to appear when there's more food than the fish can go after.

[ Parent ]
unless they're on the fish... by LilFlightTest (2.00 / 0) #24 Thu Dec 10, 2009 at 05:39:04 PM EST
they're probably just nematodes eating the leftovers...
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if de-virgination results in me being able to birth hammerhead sharks, SIGN ME UP!!! --misslake
[ Parent ]
Probably. by nightflameblue (2.00 / 0) #25 Fri Dec 11, 2009 at 12:05:30 PM EST
I've had some small level of them in most tanks over the years, and haven't ever seen them mess with the fish at all. I'd expect the cories, once moved in, will probably cut down on them. I may grab some little carnivore to take out a few more too.

[ Parent ]
The weekend that was. | 25 comments (25 topical, 0 hidden) | Trackback