Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Paul's images

My friend Paul shot another one that blew me away. I'm such a romantic!

New Aphonopelma seemanni slings housing

Aphonopelma seemanni - Costa Rican Zebra Tarantula gets new digs. I got these guys at the beginning of May and have they ever grown! Just add heat and food apparently.

Close up of A. seemanni sling in new housing


Same, but full shot


Close up of the other A. seemanni sling in new housing


Same but full shot


Maggie gets introduced to Mr. T and the A. seemanni slings get new housing

I do believe magnoliafires@lj is capable. It was great to see her in person again!

Meagan gets introduced to Mr. T



I can't get rid of this nasty flash. We'll have to get outside where it's bright! Another bad shot of the flash catching the wrong light on the JCP


New housing for the Aphonopelma seemanni - Costa Rican Zebra Tarantula
Close up of A. seemanni sling in new housing


Same but full shot


Close up of the other A. seemanni sling in new housing


Same but full shot

I rehoused the Emperor Scorpion - Pandinus imperator too, but didn't take any shots. Manon and I baked wood bark and such this afternoon to have a stock of decorations for the various vivaria.

This wild turkey was very tame. I stroked it's head. He was so friendly, that it was difficult to get a decent image of him. He was always wanting to be right on top of whatever I was doing at his level. He made the most interesting deep, almost sub sonic noises. He needs a girlfriend badly!

My back yard buddy, Mr. Wild Turkey face


Friday, August 25, 2006

Jungle Carpet Python

It's tough to get a decent shot of this guy. He's very active in hand. Manon looks a little worse for wear, but she was thrilled to have this guy grabbing her attention. Yes, even if her looks are to the contrary. :D

Manon with JCP - Manon in the morning, snake with head down.


Manon with JCP - Manon in the morning, snake with head to stage left.


Manon with JCP - Manon in the morning, under head shot of snake.


Jungle Carpet Python - first shed

My latest addition to the crew here is a six year old adult male JCP. I got this guy a few weeks ago from Tim just as he was beginning to shed. I left him be to get on with the sloughing and adapt to the new surroundings. Now he's got a new hide and I've got to know him a lot better.

Fresh off him, his shed measured 2.5m (8.5') I haven't weighed him yet, but he's no king snake.

He's a six year old male.

I thought feeding him would be more dramatic, but so far it was pretty straight forward. The rat went tail first mind you. I suppose he was hungry then! heh I used to think medium rats were large food, but watching one go down this fellows pipe makes it look small.

He's a little hissy still, but less every day. I've just let him adjust to life here with a little pestering several times a day. He seems comfortable enough now. I had a great time with him this afternoon and then tonight Manon got home from Quebec today and took these images. I'll have to chase some shots of this guy too. He's quite mobile so it's not easy to deal with him and take pictures too. :P

He's obviously been handled well and I'm glad to have such a pet.

In hand JCP


The shot that wasn't...

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Soldier ordered to stop blogging

This stuff darkens my day, but I darken at the drop of a hat.

p2p - Steal this Film

A film that caught my eye this morning. Steal this film. I'd like to see this, but the dial up blues always bite!

BS generator

A must for every executive.

insect sculpture

Some cool uses for those extra duds in the cutlery drawer.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006


Emperor Scorpion - Pandinus imperator





How will I keep this hidden for two weeks before Manon's bday?

Monday, August 21, 2006

Race details

25/34 for my gender doesn't sound so rich now, does it? heh

The nitty gritty. Look for the Roseau River entry.

Had the big guy out for a bit today. I pestered him with the snake hook first to test the waters. Bonnie in her rush to participate let the young pit bull upstairs to bound around excitedly just to make things interesting.

He was gentle enough for the circumstances, but I didn't keep him out long. I'd have liked to get some images to show him off in his new skin. I want to get some images of him in natural light, but I don't know if I'm brave enough yet to take him outside. More will be revealed, as the big book says.

I'm so miserably tired after yesterdays race that I've spent the day biting my tongue to stay out of trouble. Bedtime is pending.

I sent Boo out tonight for a sleazy film and she came home with a romantic Colin Farrel romance. Sleaze at it's worst. Bed looks like a better option irrespective of the film.

I got a good round of knitting in tonight. If I cast on with my thumb I can get it on the needles less tightly it seems. It's dead fast to cast on that way too. I'll have to scrounge up a crochet hook somewhere to practise putting dropped stitches back together. It was all casting on and straight knitting tonight. Maybe if I can begin well tomorrow evening, I'll have a go at pearling and knitting.

PDA died and won't restore today. Damn the technology when I've fully converted!

Ron Melnichuck half marathon and 5km race

Ran my third road race today. 5km 29:05 I'm not terribly happy but I shouldn't complain. I placed 2nd in my age category and 33rd out of a field of 73 over all. I have many excuses for not getting a personal best time, but I'll save those for my running journal. :P

It was a great day out with the local crew from runningmania. One thing about runners is that you can be sure to find good food where ever they meet. We had a BBQ after the race and enjoyed the fruits of every one's labour.

There was everything from ripe sweet garden vegetables, to fudge. In between there was a mango dip for mini pita breads, a Marco Polo salad, focaccia, banana chocolate muffins and lots more. A great deal of food was consumed. Those half marathon kids really know how to pack it back!

This is what it looks like when it hurts.


The runningmania crew.

Cheryl after

Colleen and Jonathan, curbside planning the next race

A friend of Jill's and Dennis

Dennis and Nathalie

Derick finishing

Dwayne finishing

Dwayne finishing closer

Dwayne smiling

Dwayne and Jill

Ian and Colleen

Jill finishing

Jill finishing closer

Jill and her Mum, Trudy?

Mike Booth winning

Mike Booth winning closer

Pam smiling

Pam coaxing Cheryl to the finish. Painful to watch, even more painful to execute

Pam coaxing Cheryl to the finish closer


Ian finishing

Jungle Carpet Python after his first shed for him in my care

Friday, August 18, 2006

show surname ranking

Rank your surname in America.

Our name didn't make the list.
My maiden name (long story) didn't make the list.
My wife's maiden name didn't make the list.
My Mum's maiden name came in #500.

Rose the pitbull and a sweet green pepper

Rose is settling in just fine I think. She's loves to lick though. Mum's going to love her! What a sweet dog. The kids are smitten. Even PU is adapting in soft ways.


We got a good dumping of rain yesterday and today it was moist and warm all day. PU came in with this beautiful pepper. With the recent rain it was heavy and the flavour was outstanding.


Thursday, August 17, 2006

Men's health

Found this today and it is an FYI for men or those who have a man they care about.

The Metabolic Syndrome: A Menace
to Men's Health

Metabolic syndrome isn't as well known as heart disease, diabetes, or cancer when it comes to health threats to American men. But if present trends continue, that's likely to change. Why? Because about 47 million Americans have the metabolic syndrome — although many don't know it. Metabolic syndrome doubles a man's risk of having a stroke or dying from heart disease. And new research suggests the syndrome also contributes to cognitive decline, kidney disease, and liver disease. If that's not bad enough, the metabolic syndrome nearly doubles a man's risk of prostate cancer.

The balance of the article...

Tuesday, August 15, 2006


I did my first knitting today. Ouch. I've cast on several times and each time I end up with things being a little tight. I've dropped stitches and added stitches, but none of those were intentional. I'm chuckling as I watch the child like learning curve take make it's way.

Maybe I'll have another couple of rounds after this cuckoo clock puts itself back together.

It's a long story. I come from a long line of Scottish knitters. The masters of the family are willing to lead me into the world of woollens and I'm in!

Monday, August 14, 2006

Westman Reptile Gardens

It was a six hour round trip to the Westman Reptile Gardens, but it was worth it. We actually estimated the time to get there pretty well all things considered.

I was out late last night with the astronomy crew so I'm a bit limp today. We couldn't stay as long as I'd have liked, but it was good enough just to get a peek through a commercial telescope in the same range as my home built one. I got to look at familiar objects and I was very happy to find my scope not lacking in anyway.

In fact, it has some advantages as far as viewing comfort goes. At least I don't have to be bent over.

More rain yesterday and today, but the sky cleared as we wound our way westward into the rolling hills and up off the plain. We stopped to pick porcupine quills from some road kill. We had a good gander at the wind mills experimentally generating electricity close to St. Leon. I love being around these massive wind mills. The sound they make is as pleasing to me as the motion and style of the engineering. Manon took a short 2 meg video of the one we were parked under.

Dave and his wife Candy were gracious hosts what for them was a busy business day. They have a fabulous collection of reptiles, amphibians and invertebrates. The massive reticulated pythons and their like, were sobering to say the least. There was also a large American crocodile that looked too big to work with in any meaningful way, but Dave obviously handles things pretty well.

Manon hung back when the "boys" were talking breeding and trading with Dave. Candy took her under her wing and had her handling all kinds of lizards and such. Manon like the Chameleons quite a bit.

We stopped in to visit a great aunt of mine, but she was out at the big Criddle homestead festivities. We drove by the signs, but I missed my cue. The Criddles have cropped up in conversations fairly frequently over the last few years. My Mum went to university with one of the Criddle boys. They were cultured people with time to sketch Northern skinks, tend to telescopes and numerous other amateur science projects. The telescope apparently sits in the museum at Wawanesa. Someday maybe I won't be in such a hurry to keep moving so quickly.

Here are the still images from the day.


Manon's hands with a pinkish Chameleon

Dave with a female Chameleon

Side shot

Manon and some kind of lizard

Manon and the sign

Large snapping turtle

Close up of the snapping turtle

Saturday, August 12, 2006

low ceiling cloud cover

It's raining! It's so nice to even hear it soak the earth, slowly, gently and consistently. We've been parched and the well is now choking up turbid brown and orange murk that has to pass for water. The stresses of dry for me are always sharper than the stresses of wet.

The grass will grow and need cutting again. The pumpkins will jump a weight class with this rain. It's only going to be 20mm or so by the time it's over, but it's welcome none the less for being a modest amount.

The fog is hanging in the trees behind the barn as if we were touching the clouds on some mountain hike and still the rain is steadily soaking everything. The chickens look lame when they are wet. It's like when you see a wet cat. Both are best as dry animals.

Thunder rolling, the smells of the dog days of summer all wet, rolling in the open windows. I just want to take a chaise and lie outside.
May you all be bulging with the produce of you gardens.

If anyone wants cucumbers, we've had our share. If you want to pick, you need to be prompt and frequent. :D


Working out on Fridays is such a good thing for me. It breaks up my week in to bite sized pieces and allows for a big social day at the week's end. I'm enjoying the back of a jewelery store much more than I thought I would. I need more ways to introduce structure in longer cycles.

Tomorrow I get to help break down the event structures for the Gardenton Prairie Days after 15:00, then head back in the evening to assist with an RASC fellow member telescope setup. Sunday Manon and I are off to The Reptile Gardens just east of Brandon. We'll be going with a crew from the Manitoba Herpetoculture Society, so we should get into the nitty gritty behind the scenes. I hope none of us get eaten by any reticulated pythons.

Right after I got home this evening John and I headed out for a trail run with his young daughter. I ran the mile to meet them then we ran down to the swinging bridge and back. I ran the mile back home and an hour and a quarter had gone by. I was well ready for dinner by that time. Trail running is tough, but fortunately John has ten years on me and does most of his running on a tread mill so there was a lot of walking involved tonight.

At the swinging bridge we saw a large snapping turtle. End to end, the shell measured maybe a half metre. It was quite impressive watching it work the bottom of the river as it shopped for food, We watched from above. I'm easily amused. :P

More hot wind from the south and the well water drains out the bottom of the well a little farther.
One of five, one of three, one of two and more.

PU and I were putting the living room back together yesterday after the painting. PU asked me to sift through and label some unmarked video tapes and in them I found a 1983 taped broadcast of Stevie Ray Vaughn playing the El Mocombo in Toronto before he got famous. What a great bit of tape it is. I had to watch the whole thing again. It chokes me up to see that much emotion spilt. I wish he was still with us.

And now I lay me down to sleep. Mum? Are you crying, laughing or washing your hands of me?

Friday, August 11, 2006


Fun and games getting back into the swing of things after being away. A house full of grad students last night for one of Pierrette's classic meals. Scrambling on Tuesday to complete an enclosure for my Jungle Carpet Python, then off to the city to pick the boy up. I haven't even got any images of the new dude. He's about to shed and was a little hissy when I was handling him at Tim's.

I haven't measured him, but it's no exaggeration to say that he's approaching two metres. I guess he'd weigh about 5kgs or so. he's gorgeous. He looks like he's dusted in some iridescent velvet over the zigzag bands of light and dark. A handsome snake and strong. He's and active boy to have in hand. I bet I jump the first few times I feed him. I can imagine he strikes with a force to be cautious of.

Into the mix was a call yesterday morning from our first baby sitter from back in the late 80's. Verna had brought home a dog that was found wondering around the care home she works at near where we live. She'd taken it home and kept it a week while she scouted the identity of the owners without luck. Verna's kids were in love with this little girl. They all came along when Verna brought it and each came separately and kissed it gently to say goodbye. The eldest was eight and he was crying quietly as he stepped back into the van for the sad ride home. Too many adults were rightly concerned about the breed for them to be able to keep it.

I've kept three pit bulls starting with a great dog in 1989 but haven't kept one for at least a couple of years. The plethora of bad breeding and bad handling makes the breed much less than attractive. I've had to put down too many to have been looking forward to this new dog's arrival, but better me, than an accident with some unsuspecting naive, want to be, dog owner, I figured.

This is Rose. She's won all our hearts. I don't know why these dogs tug at my heart so badly, but I'm saddened to be so taken with this dog. My first one broke my heart when she was killed by a car waiting for me at the end of the drive one night when I was too late getting home. Rose is much more dog than my first one, but she's got all of us as dedicated supporters so far. The jury is still out though. Walk softly and carry a big stick as Dad used to say.


Here's the same only bigger. My wall paper for the day.

Tuesday, August 8, 2006

Vancouver Island

Home sweet home.

My Mum and Dad got their 50th anniversary celebrations in. I was glad to have been able to join the crew on the west coast for the festivities.

Ran some hills close to their place on Friday and then went for a longer 1:35 minute run on Sunday. I have to figure a way to get a treadmill so I can practice those hills!

Oysters Rockefeller is not an appropriate meal before a long run.

The wild caught sockeye salmon and halibut were outstanding on the BBQ!

I've decided that before the masters of Nicholson knitting are gone, I'm going to learn to knit. Mitts, socks and sweaters are a must!

Dad could exist on a steady diet of computers.

I'm so grateful to have finally managed to enjoy my parents company.