Archive for February, 2009

Ways To Make Traffic Lights Go Green INSTANTLY!

1. Apply makeup in the rear view mirror. Guarantee you’ll get a green light by the time you get the lid of your lip gloss.

2. Fumble in the glove box for a cd. As soon as you’re sat with the box open, the current cd ejected and the new one about to go in the slot – the light will change.

3. Attempt to locate something just out of reach in the backseat requiring you to briefly remove your seat belt. You’ll know the light has just changed when the car behind you is laying on the horn.

4. Write a text on your mobile. Second word – green light, then you try to hurry – annoyingly hit the exit button by mistake and send the partial message to your drafts.

5. Put the handbrake on. As soon as you lift your foot off the clutch you’ll have to get going again.

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Nano Tank

I spent a good portion of the afternoon yesterday with my hands in our marine tank due to issues caused by a new resident. Last weekend we added three new critters to our tank which, until now only contained live rock and soft corals. Actually, we did have Mr Whippy the hermit crab but sadly he died for reasons unknown after only 2 weeks in the tank. We think he wasn’t quite right from the start as he never moved around much and spent all day every day sleeping, until that one particular night when he pulled himself out of his shell and dumped himself on the substrate to be eaten by the bristleworms. I came down in the morning to find a pile of inedible legs and his shell laying on the gravel. Sad times.

The new residents are facinating. First off we bought another Hermit Crab. He’s a bit different from the last one, not as attractive and slightly disabled yet at some point during the day he wakes up and goes for a wander to turn over the substrate in search of food before returning to the same rock under the toadstool coral to sleep. His legs are an orangey brown colour and I’m not sure but I think he may be missing an extra leg on each side as he only has two skinny little legs that pull him around and two pincer claws at the front which he uses to pick through the sand and eat. The pincer claws are what got him his name, with one being very large and the second being much smaller we decided to name him Jeremy Beadle (a late British TV presenter who, due to Poland Syndrome, had one had smaller than the other).

The other two new residents are a pair, a Yellow Watchman Goby fish and a Pistol Shrimp. The deal with these two are that they form a ‘symbiotic pair’ which is a pairing of two different species. The shrimp digs a burrow in which the fish lives and in return for the shelter the fish protects the shrimp – whom is blind.

Watching Valentino (the shrimp) and Rossi (the fish) live together is facinating in that Valentino is like the super busy tidy freak – or your mum busily trying to vacuum under your feet while you slob on the couch. And Rossi is like a fat lazy teenager who hangs around in one spot looking out for food all day. Where ever Rossi sits, Valentino is never far behind shovelling arm loads of substrate out of the way to provide a better more spacious cave for them both to hide in. If Rossi gets in the way I’ve seen Valentino shovelling him  out of the way too.  The whole time Valentino is working Rossi sits at the entrance of the cave keeping an eye out for food and predators – or us, walking into the room. Rossi warns Valentino either by a specific twitch which Valentino feels by keeping his long antennae rested on Rossi’s back or simply by getting crammed head-on back into the cave as Rossi makes his lightening fast duck for cover!

Valentino is like a minature bulldozer. Shaped like a dwarf lobster he has two longer arms at the front with pincers on the end. One pincer is larger than the other and together these arms are capable of shovelling and holding about half a teaspoon of substrate! He spends all day every day bulldozing mounds of gravel from underneath the rocks creating a maze of interlinked caverns beneath. And therein lay the reason for my arm bath yesterday – within an hour of introducing them to the tank, Valentino had already shovelled so much gravel from under the reef that part of it collapsed in the middle! Worried that he would eventually set to work on the rest of it I had to reach in and rearrange the rock so it sat flat on the tank floor with no gravel underneath it.

Fortuantely the rearrangement has worked out really well providing much more space for new corals and even bigger areas for Valentino to safely clear out creating their new network of caves that has at least four exits from which he and Rossi sit viewing the tank floor and grabbing the occasional brine shrimp that floats past.

Valentino’s talents don’t stop there. Being blind I guess hunting food can be a bit tricky so these aptly named ‘Pistol Shrimp’ posses an awesome ability in thier larger claw which doubles as a mini gun.

Routinely throughout the day and evening you can hear a loud CLICK coming from the tank, this is Valentino shooting his prey. With one clamping shut of his larger claw he can create a shot of air that fires through the water at over 60mph.  When the air bubble bursts it results in the loud click that we hear. I’ve also read that when the bubble bursts it emits a flash of light (not visible to the naked eye). This flash has a temperature of over 8,000 degrees farenheight, the temperature of the sun! The force and sound eminating from this deadly claw stuns the shrimps prey so he can eat it. How does it find the prey in the first place? I guess it’s by vibrations in the water.

Here is a little video of Jeremy Beadle asleep under his toadstool, Rossi ‘watching’ and Valentino bargeing in and out of the cave with arm loads of substrate gravel.

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Reality Blows

Hey Guys.... which way to the beach?

'Hey Guys.... which way to the beach?"

We arrived back from Mexico on Thursday morning and were cruelly hit by the 25 degree celcius drop in temperature. Fortunately we packed our coats at the top of the suitcase for easy retrieval.

The flight there had been a long one,  13 hours from London to Cancun followed by an hour transfer on the other end. We arrived at our resort in Playa Del Carmen at around 6pm shortly before dinner. We made it to dinner and from dinner straight to bed.

At 5am in the morning you could tell exactly who the new arrival Europeans at the hotel were. They were the ones staring out into the gardens and walking around the pool like zombies in search of sleep. Unfortunately by ditching into bed so early on the first night we crucified ourselves for the rest of the holiday and 6 out of the 10 days we were away we suffered terrible jetlag which hit knocked us to bed very early evening and made us spring awake long before anything other than the Coaties began howling at eachother.

We had a fab time anyway taking in the beaches, nature reserves, jungle, mangroves, reefs, ancient ruins, towns, public transport, glorious food and some great people.

If you like package holidays then I’d recommend Playa Del Carmen and I’d highly recommend the Riu Lupita hotel. All the information I found about it on the internet doesn’t do it justice. If you want to go scuba diving then you shouldn’t even consider putting yourself in anyone elses hands than Scuba Caribe. The guys there are serious professionals and they really highlighted what clowns we’ve used for diving in other places before.

For me, as much as I enjoyed our time away and felt thoroughly relaxed  – I’d like to have seen the real Mexico. When I go back some day it’ll be off the beaten track with a guide book and a rucksack.

Photos can be found on my Flickr site but I’d like to point out that I got a DSLR camera from the lovely Wil for my birthday just before we left and as you’ll see from some photos I still have some practice to do with it!

Photos Here

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Now You’re Stuck!

nowyourestuckWil went for a ‘sit down’ and found this cheeky pun hanging on the roll waiting for a victim… I just don’t want to think too much about the circumstances surrounding Cameron running out of toilet paper and smudging his way to the kitchen to get the marker pen.

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We’re Baaaaaack!

sunburnWith screwed up body clocks.

Red bits.

Itchy heat rash bits.

Bottomless pits for stomachs (otherwise known as ‘All Inclusive Hunger Syndrome’)

A fresher angrier dislike for the UK and it’s SHITTY weather, although I’m told the moment our plane left terra firma on Feb 2nd you lot got dumped with the most snow in 18 years. LMAO – too bad we slipped straight into equatorial bliss of blue skies and bikini wearing warmth just 13 hours later.

A new dislike for nearly ALL Europeans (not just the French as before) and a new sector of French speaking wassicks – those being from Montreal and Quebec… Yes my xenophobia has reached new levels of hating those bastards who are incapable of showing manners, inability to take turns fairly and the persistant greediness of reserving sunbeds with towels – I’M TALKING TO YOU GERMANS.

Improved Spanish speaking abilities… I was able to use some of the Spanish I spent 2 years learning a while back. I was surprised how quickly it sprang back to me to the point that I think if I’d had another couple of weeks I could hold a fairly decent involved conversation.

250+ photos to pick through for the best shots to upload for you.

And a desire to hunt down and find the peanut allergy suffering asshole who got the entire aeroplane banned from consuming peanuts! That’s right – Thomson airlines ban peanuts if there is an allergy suffer on board. I want to know:

SINCE WHEN DID PEANUT ALLERGIES AFFECT SOMEONE VIA THE AIR?

HOW HAS THIS PERSON MADE IT OUTSIDE OF HIS HOUSE, LET ALONE ON A TRIP ABROAD?

And lastly witnessing a shocking scenario at the airport whereby we saw a young girl from Romania standing at the passport control officers desk adjacent to the one we were at. She was asked what the nature of her trip was, to which she replied ‘to visit’. She was unable to provide an address of where she was staying and the response she gave to the question ‘how long will you be here for?’ varied from one week to a month. When asked for inspection of her return flight ticket she didn’t have one. They of course let her straight in!

Despite my sounding miserable and angry – take it as not as disappointment that I must have had a shit holiday but rather the best relaxation and evidence of the fiesty batteries being fully charged!

Whooot! More later when I’m not such a zombie.

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