Mister Eclectic (howeird) wrote,
Mister Eclectic

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On-Call Weekend

Stuck on call this weekend (and until next Friday) which means I have to be able to respond to the pager within 15 minutes, and be in front of my home or work PC, working the issue within 2 hours. So I'm pretty much stuck with no live theater, no movies, no bike ride (it's raining today but who knows about tomorrow?) and no major trips.

So I did some shopping. Went to The French Store (Targét) because it was the only place I could think of which was not Wal*Mart and would have kitty litter, shampoo and vacuum cleaners. I would have gone to Wal*Mart, but I already knew they didn't have a vacuum cleaner which could serve as my upstairs machine. I'd been using a cordless Dirt Devil stick model, but it turned out to be useless after 5 minutes, and very awkward to use on the stairs, which was the main reason I'd bought it.

Mission accomplished, they had the brand and flavors of shampoo and conditioner I like* and amazing but true, 20lbs of kitty litter was almost $1 less than at Wal*Mart. It took a while to find the vacuum, though - everything seemed to be focused on a Wider Cleaning Path, which is the opposite of what I wanted. Finally found a Shark brand cannister thing called a Roadster. Kewl looking, but most important it has a long extension tube and a rotary brush in the head, which is what I need for the stairs. For downstairs I have an old but sturdy Sears Kenmore upright, but it's too heavy to lug upstairs, and while I have the super-long tube extension for it, there is no "power head" so I have to keep unclogging the doohickie attachment on the end.

My hair tangles easily. My beard needs to not feel like a Brillo® pad. After years of no joy in finding a conditioner which would work on both, the wonderful chemists at St. Ives introduced, at an incredibly low price, shampoo/conditioner bundles which were in wonderful flavors such as aloe vanilla.

Just as I was making those my hair care products of choice, the marketing boziods at St. Ives decide to change their strategy and concentrate on the more lucrative skin care and hair repair businesses, and reorder the shampoo and conditioner line into "types". And they added fad ingredients to their good flavors which made horrible smelling stuff. They took the vanilla and added edelweiss, which destroys both aromas, and made this their "moisturizing" formula. And they took aloe and added echinacea for a truly putrid smell, and called it the "revitalizing" product. The only one left which looks remotely attractive is the "strengthening" flavor, Pear and Vitamin E.

But along with the change in product line, none of the stores in my area seem to be carrying them anymore. Boo, hiss.

Next stop, Petco, where I got some live plants for the fish tanks. Also wanted a couple more female bettas, but they didn't get any in yesterday. Friday is their fish delivery day. Maybe next week. Yesterday at lunchtime I went to the Pet Club and picked up a 5-gal tank & hood and set that up for the gouramis, since they have been beating up the bettas. Very odd, since usually gouramis and bettas live peacefully together. When I lived in Thailand, the kids would pull both species out of the same ponds. Apparently when gouramis are in heat, the males can become impossible to live with.

Shopping done, I came home, put the plants in the tanks, watched the cats fight over the live catnip plant, which made its way across the dining room with no help from myself, and then I got out the camera because there was a gorgeous bunch of crocuses (croci?) by the front door which needed to be photographed.

Click on the image for the desktop backgound (HUGE) version.

Since the camera was out, it was time to shoot the fish. I took about 50 shots, but only a handful came out, thanks to the auto-focus wanting to focus on the glass instead of what was behind it. The ones which worked were done with manual focus. The whole series can be seen here

Male betta, pretty beat up by the gouramis over the past week

Female betta - they are not usually this colorful. Someone's been doing selective breeding for Petco. One interesting fact about bettas, in fact many tropical fish, is if there are no males in a group, eventually one of the females will magically become a male.

Amusing artifact of the macro lens having no depth of field.

Pearl gouramis: The short dorsal fin on the one in front shows she's female.

Female betta in front, male behind her. That camouflaged lump in the lower right is a clown Plecostomus (algae-eater).

Here's that "pleco" from a better angle.

And uploading the pictures I found a few cute ones of the cats in my bed.

Domino, legs crossed (she does this a lot) on my stars-and-planets comforter

Pumpkin appropriates the heating pad.

And since the camera was in hand, I also took a picture of the nice new computer room chair which helps my back a LOT:

Should be a boring weekend. I have 3 DVDs from Netflix, and maybe I'll go bowling. Or just hang at Starbucks.

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