Archive for April, 2007

Firefly 2, Crickets 1

April 28, 2007

My little darling had his/her first crickets (at least, while in my custody) last night.

I have never tried to feed live bugs to a critter before, so I am learning as I go.

The young clerk at Petsmart was kind enough to fish out 10 or so of the smallest crickets in the big bin and bag ’em up for me. I bought some calcium dusting powder and dumped a little of it plus the crickets into a yogurt container with (literally) pinholes in the lid.

First lesson: There are far too many places for 3 crickets to hide in a well-decorated 11-gallon terrarium. Oh well, it was time for a good housecleaning. So I dismantled everything and found them, but before I did, one of the crickets had walked right past Firefly’s nose and over his/her front paw at least twice, and lived to tell the tale.

Second lesson: Don’t be so dainty with the little bamboo tongs, or you can’t hang onto the bugs. I did lose one; heaven only knows where it is. (I am just not down with the idea of picking up bugs in my bare hands. Yet.)

So I put Firefly in the little critter-keeper with one cricket. No decor; not even a paper towel. Just the predator and the prey. It took him/her a while–but eventually–pounce! One ex-cricket down the little red lane, and one smirking crestie licking its chops.

So I put in another one. This time s/he knew exactly what that crawly thing was for, but s/he had to attack it twice before catching it.

Could s/he possibly want a third one?

No. The third one took at least 10 laps around the critter-keeper, crawling either over or under Firefly’s nose each time. So I got busy with my tongs, and that cricket gets to live another day.

Good thing I live alone, though. Picture this:

Crankybeach: “Firefly, look! Mommy brought you num-nums!”

Firefly: ::blank look while num-nums crawl right past::

No, I did not take pictures of this extravaganza. I would have needed five or six hands to do the catching, feeding AND manipulate the camera! I’m good… but I’m not THAT good!

Why, you may ask, has s/he not had crickets up until now? Well… crested geckos are, I am told, one of very few reptiles that do not actually require live food. Crickets are optional. I just thought a little variety in the diet would be nice.

In other news… there are now T-shirts of the eyeball-licking picture available in my Cafe Press shop. Disgust and amaze your friends!

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Harumph.

April 27, 2007

Jeff thinks the close-up shots are creepy.

A word to the wise: Never tell a new mother her baby is creepy-looking.

To help persuade… here is a near life size version of the middle shot below:

There. Is that better?

A Face A Mother Loves

April 26, 2007

At the risk of boring Bum and Jeff, I have yet more pictures of the new baby.

First… this one is cropped at near life size, to show just how tiny the lil’ rascal is:

I got out the spray bottle and misted the critter.

And then s/he went into my favorite part of the performance:

Crested geckos can’t blink, you see; they don’t have regular eyelids. So they have to clean off their eyeballs with their little pink tongues.

I don’t know if there is anything cuter on the face of this earth.

So there.

No, It Is Not April 1.

April 26, 2007

But one would certainly think so.

I mean, come on. Mistaking a sheep for a poodle?

Let’s see…. this

versus this:

Nuh-uh.

I just wonder what would have happened if one of those poor saps had gotten her sheep groomed in that hideous poodle-do?

A thought much too horrifying to contemplate.

They Say That Like It’s A Bad Thing

April 25, 2007

Newspaper headline: “Spinach money cut from Iraq bill.

The article’s first line: “Spinach gets dissed again.”

It goes on thus:

Seven months after an E. coli outbreak and the resulting spinach recall devastated the local industry, county spinach growers and shippers ended up with the short end of the stick this week.

That’s because U.S. Senate leaders made a point of removing $25 million in aid for spinach growers from a $124.2-billion package designed to fund U.S. military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. The package did include $3.5 billion for the nation’s farmers, designating $40 million for California’s citrus growers, who were hurt by January’s freeze, and dairy farmers, who were affected by last year’s heat wave.

Rep. Sam Farr, D-Carmel, who backed the local aid, said the spinach industry became the fall guy in the debate over add-on emergency funding. After the House of Representatives passed a bill that included the spinach funding, the Senate voted 98-0 to ban any subsidy for the industry.

“These spinach growers did the right thing by voluntarily recalling the spinach, and they got hurt by it,” Farr said. “But because spinach became the poster child for the debate (over funding), it got left out.”

Farr said spinach didn’t qualify for disaster funding designation and had to stand on its own, leaving it vulnerable to attack by opponents. The anti-tax group Citizens Against Government Waste gave Farr a “pork” award and said the spinach industry shouldn’t be given any special consideration merely for “pulling a deadly product off the shelves.”

County Agriculture Commissioner Eric Lauritzen said the outcome wasn’t unexpected but was disappointing nonetheless.

“It didn’t come as a shock to me,” Lauritzen said. “It was not a natural disaster, so it had a little bit of an uphill battle to begin with. Congressman Farr worked very hard on this. It’s disappointing to the congressman and those who were counting on these funds. Many spinach growers could have benefited in a situation where they weren’t at fault.”

Lauritzen said the industry, which had grown to a $190-million annual business in 2005, lost as much as $30 million due to lost sales and consumer demand during the E. coli outbreak. He said the local industry, which produces about half of the nation’s spinach, will continue to suffer long-term harm as it attempts to recover.

The crisis, which sickened 205 people and caused at least three deaths, resulted in lawmakers calling for stricter controls on the industry, which has since adopted new rules for the vegetable’s processors and shippers.

Lauritzen said the industry will now focus its efforts on securing funds for food safety research.

The debate over money for spinach farmers is probably moot. The bill, which includes a deadline for withdrawal from Iraq, is expected to gain approval in the House and Senate but will likely be vetoed by President Bush.

Debate on the funding package came as victims of the food contamination outbreak testified before Congress, asking for tougher oversight of the industry.

Boo freaking hoo.

Although… I suppose it really doesn’t matter much, since the bill will be vetoed anyway. With or without spinach-flavored pork.

As Requested…

April 25, 2007

… Jeff wonders when I’m going to comment on “Drive.”

Here’s my comment.

AAAARGHHHH!!!!!

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We Had To Expect This…

April 23, 2007

… Firefly with his/her namesake DVD. Of course.

I Think Auntie Needs Her Own Doggie…

April 23, 2007

… what do YOU think???

Now that Uncle Gordon is gone, she’s all alone in that big house.

A nice little doggie would be great for her.

We took Star with us to the funeral, and she was a great big hit with everybody, including Lupe, Letty and Michelle.

For those who really care… Lupe and Letty are my all-but-adopted cousins, and Michelle is Lupe’s daughter. Uncle Gordon doted on her so much from birth we used to jokingly call her Uncle Gordon’s granddaughter. She’s all grown up with children of her own now. Amazing… the last time I had seen her, she was about knee-high.

He Was A Cantankerous Old Coot…

April 16, 2007

… but he was OUR cantankerous old coot.

He was my 89 year old uncle, and he died on Saturday. He will be sorely missed. Opinionated, blunt to the point of rudeness, never stopped talking, and always loved a good prank. (Sound like anybody else you know?)

My sister and I are making a quick trip down to L.A. to be with our aunt for a couple of days. So no blogging until I get back.

From The Mailbag…

April 11, 2007

… old boyfriend, reader and frequent commenter Bum passes this along.

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