Wednesday, July 26, 2006


Yeah, I need to vent a little. Since I'm a grad student with no money, I do what I can, short of whoring myself out, to make ends meet. So, I became the resident manager of the building I live in. It's not too much extra work, I just need to clean and mop the hallways and stairwells, unlock doors for people who forget their keys, and monitor the parking in our lot. Parking is very limited in Madison, and there isn't enough space, especially around campus.

Well, our parking lot is having extensive repairs to fix a flooding problem we have in the back. The problem is the small building next door. The tenants there are always parking in our lot, taking away spaces from the tenants in this building. I'm always calling parking enforcement, but the neighbors see me in the lot and scurry to move their cars before the police get here. Well, the problem is that the parking enforcement cops take their sweet ass time getting here. Sometimes, they just don't show up and I have to wait all night long. I've called at midnight, and they've not arrived till 4:00 a.m. Tonight, the neighbors had a huge party, and I mean huge, and they filled our lot with cars from party guests. With the construction, there aren't enough spots for our residents, let alone eight extra cars from the neighbor's visitors. So, I call parking enforcement. Guests see me in the lot and start cussing me out. Douchebags...such a sense of entitlement. By the time the cop gets here, most cars are moved. When she got here, only three cars were left, but she forgot her ticket book, so she had to leave to come back. When she got here, only two cars were left.

We've repeatedly had problems with people from the building next door. We've told them if we see their cars in our lot again, we'll tow them. I just wish the cop could shoot their tires out or something. What a major pain in the ass, and I'm sick of having to wait long periods for the cops to arrive. I should note that the cops are parking enforcement cops; Madison has a separate police staff to handle parking issues.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Well, I figure it's time for another update....I don't want to wait another six months. I'm sitting here with my damn psycho chat perched on my lap. We had another exciting thunderstorm tonight in Madison. I love a good storm--the sky filling up with lightning and the walls rattling from the thunderclaps. I used to be terrified of storms when I was a child (and yes, I'll admit it, even as a teenager). My hometown was destroyed by a F4 category tornado when I was a baby, and when I was six, a tornado ripped through the farm I grew up on. Our windows were blown in, and my older brother had to brace himself around me as I clung to the door jam. My feet actually left the floor as the power of the vacuum was so great. A truly terrifying experience, and I was left with an innate fear of storms. Now, I get an exhileration when a big storm blows through--as long as I'm safely inside. My building is all cement: walls, ceilings, floors, and there is a basement, so I feel reasonably safe here. Nature is such a powerful force, and it's always humbling to witness her raw power. Hehe, I said "raw power."

A friend posted this video on ReefMonkey, and I thought it was too funny to not share. Enjoy!

Saturday, July 15, 2006

Long Week

Well, after working six days straight and nearly forty hours, I finally get a day off. I know, I know, I shouldn't whine about working so much since I do need the money, but I do really need to get working more on my thesis proposal.

But, I had a rather relaxing evening after work. My friend Marcy came by and we drank a nice French Bourdeaux that I had left over from a dinner party. I don't drink much, but I do enjoy a small glass of red wine every now and then. After Marcy left, my neighbor Hillary came by and she had some wine and we just hung out and watched the fish in my bedroom. I feed them some frozen blood worms, and we were grossed out by watching them eat.

I have no idea what I'm going to do tomorrow, but I'm pretty sure I'm going to sleep in very late. I haven't slept much this week, so when I'm behind on sleep, I love to sleep a good 12 hours without interruption. Yes, I know it's very lazy, but there's no better feeling than waking up refreshed after a long sleep. After waking up, I need to mop the hallways, stairwells, and entrances to the apartment building I live in. I'm the resident manager, so it's my responsibility to keep the building clean. Ater that, I have to do a large water change on my planted discus tank.

I unfortunately thought a planted tank would be less work than a reef tank. In many cases, it's less work when it comes to figuring out the science, dosing, etc., but it's very labor intensive. I'm required to do 50% weekly water changes, and it takes a lot of time to prepare the RO/DI (reverse osmosis-deionized) water. So much for the idea of setting up an easy tank in my bedroom, although it is very peaceful and tranquil.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Well, About Damn Time!

Yeah, I'm a total slacker, what can I say? I have a coworker who meticulously works on his blog every day, so I decided to follow his example.

The sad part is, I really don't have too much to add to my blog. The spring semester was a total blur. I ended up being promoted to a Lecturer, but that also meant a significant pay cut in my salary. Sometimes, I really hate this university, but it's more motivation to get done and get the hell out.

With the pay cut, I decided it was time to find a part-time job. Since I'm now a dissertator, I don't take classes anymore, so my contact with other people has been significantly reduced. Being a scholar is solitary work, and well, there's a reason why all those medieval monks worked on their manuscripts while sequestered in some abbey tower. So, I decided to bite the bullet and get a job at the best aquarium store in town. As luck would have it, the owner was looking for some part-time help, and after talking to him, he decided to hire me. I started working only on Wednesday nights, and sometimes Sundays. After the semester ended, I picked up many more hours. I do sometimes worry that working in a LFS (local fish store) will suck my personal joy from the hobby, but so far, so good. Though, I do have to admit that the last thing I want to do is aquarium maintenance when I go home. LOL

The nice thing about working at a LFS is the employee discount. I recently redid my 55 gallon reef tank and transformed it from a primarily soft coral system to a stony coral system (predominantly SPS corals). Well, I'm not having much luck with SPS, so I've decided to slow down on new additions and wait for my tank to stabilize. But, so much for the idea of me actually making any money. Since working at the LFS, I have totally expanded my aquarium collection. I already had the 55 gallon reeftank, but since then, I added a betta bowl, a 5.5 gallon nano reef with a predatory 6" mantis shrimp, and a 20 gallon planted discus tank that I just upgraded to a 46 gallon bowfront with 4 discus, 10 neon tetras, 2 glowlight tetras, some otos, siamese algae eaters, and a shitload of live plants.

Here are some pics of my tanks:

My 55 gallon reef tank back when it looked much better.

My mantis shrimp from my nano tank. I'm sorry to report that he died early last week for unknown reasons.

My little betta don't laugh, I know it's pathetic.

And finally, my latest endeavor: my 46 gallon bowfront planted discus tank.

I've been very active on the salwater bulletin boards. I was banned from ReefCentral when I got caught in the crossfire of the Great DSB vs BB Wars of 2006 (Deep Sand Bed and BareBottom--two methods for keeping reeftanks), but I was reinstated. However, I've long called ReefMonkey my internet home. I love that site, and I have nothing but respect for the members who post there. There is very limited moderation, and members aren't treated like children. In fact, I won a contest and received a free ticket to the IMAC (International Marine Aquarium Conference) in Chicago. I went and met a fellow ReefMonkey who also won the same contest. We had a great time hanging out with the other fish geeks. It was fun checking out all the newest gadgets for saltwater tanks. After returning, I was later made a moderator at ReefMonkey, which makes me very happy since I like everything that bulletin board stands for. I've made some great friends through RM, and I've been able to meet a few of them in person. I'm still waiting to meet Terry and Tanya. I originally met them both on RC, but we all fled RC to RM when the douche factor became unbearable. Terry and Tanya have both been so kind to me. I don't talk much with Tanya now since she's now found a job since moving to Boston, but I talk to Terry almost daily. It's funny how you can meet people over the internet and built a friendship with them, without ever meeting them face to face. I know some people are drawn to the anonymity of the internet because they can be whoever and whatever they want to be. I guess I'm just a simpleton because I am too transparent, and I don't have the time for that sort of duplicity.

Well, I think that's enough for now. Thanks for reading me.