Betta Max

For Valentines Day this year my wife got me a beautiful blue and purple male Betta fish that we have named Betta Max. (Hey I’m a geek. Can you tell?) I have been talking about getting a Betta for months now, but I never went through with it because I just could not decide on a tank for one. That did not stop me from doing research for one online to learn more about care and feeding for a Betta. The one Hannah picked out for me is a Delta Tail Male Betta fish. I had to look up what kind of Betta that was.

Betta Delta Tail- Male Also known as Siamese Fighting Fish, Combattant (Canada), Trey kroem phloek (Cambodia), or C lia thia (Vietnam). The Male Betta is well known for its jewel-bright colors and spectacular finnage. Unlike most fish, they breathe from the water’s surface with their labyrinth organ instead of through their gills. Delta Tails have a distinctly triangular-shaped tail with crisp edges and sharp angles. The tail of a Delta is symmetrical, and although the angle is generally wide they are generally 130ø or less in tail span. Anything more than 130ø but less than 170ø is considered a Super Delta Tail Betta. Bettas will “flare” their fins when disturbed or threatened. The male Betta will attack another Betta and have been known to attack similar-looking fish. It is recommended that only one male Betta is housed in an aquarium with plants and very little current.

Hannah really could not have picked out a better gift.

Together the two of us went to the local pet store where I picked out a tank and Hannah picked out some red Gravel, a plant, and an Easter Island looking statue.

Today I added a d20 to the tank. Hannah says I am projecting on Betta Max. I just feel like he wants to be able to play games from his tank. Who am I to stop him?

Wearable Art

Juneau Arts and HumanitiesMy wife is quite the creative soul. I find myself impressed and amazed almost daily by the ways she expresses herself creativity. One of the ways I have seen her harness her creativity is with a program called ‘Wearable Art’. The Juneau Arts and Humanities Council puts on an annual event called, ‘Wearable Art‘ where people create artistic clothing and for one weekend a year they show it off on a runway in down town Juneau.

For months my wife has been working on her second entry into the Wearable Art event. Inspired by her nursing career, she started sketching out designs for a dress made entirely from materials found in a hospital operating room. I watch as she slowly brought the dress to life. It really is amazing how her mind works and how she is able to put things like this together.

This past weekend was the annual Wearable Art show and My wife, along with her model showed off all the hard work that had gone into her dress. Below I would like to share with you some photos from the event.

The Current State Of Childhood

The current state of children’s toys and cartoons really bothers me. Maybe its because of my age and the fact that, I myself have started thinking about having kids. But whatever the reason is that has brought on this train of though, the idea of exposing my own offspring or any children to the current state of toys and cartoons that are at the store and on TV right now makes me sick to my stomach. I have talked about this in the past.

Being a child of the eighties, I grew up and felt privileged to be exposed to what I think are some pretty awesome toys and cartoons. Some of them just off the top of my head are…

I have some really good childhood memories of watching these cartoons and playing with these toys. Toys and cartoons that, to this day, I still enjoy and collect. I am really looking forward to the day that my children and I can enjoy them together.

When I turn on the TV nowadays, I am embarrassed by the cartoons (which all seem to be computer animated now and not hand drawn) that networks broadcast to children. What the hell is Sponge Bob Square Pants anyway? I don’t even recognize the Transformers anymore and their toys just look scary to me.

I am going to go on a Transformers side rant here. So bare with me.

Anyone who has been following my blog knows that I am a die hard, old school, Transformers fan. (TILL ALL ARE ONE!) Something about that cartoon and the toys just clicked with me on an emotional level when I was growing up and I think that is why I am such a fan of them to this day. It might be because it was one of the first toys my older brother ever got me. It might be because when you see an old school Transformer cartoon or toy transforming it makes sense. Just by looking at the thing you can get an idea of which pieces need to move where and when to transform it. I never needed an instruction booklet to transform a Transformer. Because of that the toys made me feel smart. Like I was teaching myself and learning something at the same time. But nowadays you open up one of these “newer” Transformers toys or watch one of the movies or cartoons your head just hurts. Nothing about it makes sense.

Whenever I go to the store, I always check out the toy sections (because I am a kid at heart) and I am applied by what I see. Isles of action figures that don’t look fun or easy to play with. I have also noticed that they have not moved from their shelf from one week to the next. No one is buying this crap. I find myself spending the most time looking at Hot Wheels toys because they are about the only thing in the toy section of stores that I used to play with when I was a kid.

One of the few stores that still carries old school Transformers products is Hot Topic. Whenever I travel down south from Alaska, I make time to go into a Hot Topic and I ask the clerk every time “Do you sell more old school Transformers Products or the newer Transformers Products. Each time for years the answer has been the same “Oh we sell way more old school Transformers. It’s hard for us to keep them in stock.”

Now if that is not telling about the current state of Cartoons and Toys I don’t know what is. I have also noticed this with Transformer cartoon DVDs. The local stores can’t keep the old school stuff on the shelves, but every week, I still see the same new school DVDs on the self right where they where last time. I said it before and I will say it again. No one is buying this crap.

Even Legos have changed over the years. How the hell do you screw up interlocking plastic bricks? Well somehow they did to the point where they are not recognizable anymore. It used to be that kids had buckets of legos from which they could build anything they could imagine.

  • Cities
  • Planes
  • Spaceships
  • Cars
  • Trucks
  • Boats
Now you buy sets to build Hogwarts, or some Star Wars space ship and that is it. You want to build anything else? Well, you’ll have to buy a different Lego kit. WTF?
My mom is currently visiting my wife and I and I was talking to her about the current state of cartoons. She had a brilliant insight which was that cartoons these days are one of the reasons why kids are failing in school (besides the fact that the current educational system sucks). She said it is because cartoons are killing children’s attention span. Eight minutes into a show and BAM, commercial. Kids can’t focus in class because there attention span only lasts eight minutes. I can’t help but think there must be some truth in that statement.
One of the reasons why I collect TV shows and Cartoons on DVDs is so I don’t have to watch commercials. The idea that my doing this might be improving my future child’s attention span made me happy.
What do you think of cartoons now a days? For that matter; What do you think of toys now a days? What is or was your favorite cartoon and toy growing up?

The Power Of Salt

Two things I hate are being sick and Canker sores. Sometimes, my body likes to hold contests to learn which one I loath more. While my immune system unsympathetically allows this to happen to me, I continue to try and find remedies to make these physical inconveniences as short as possible.

Last week I felt myself getting sick. Both my wife and mom where sick the week before and it all but knocked them out. I took care of them as best as I could while they suffered through sore throats, stuffy noses and fevers. During this time, I knew there was no way I would not get sick myself. So, in preparation, I started taking vitamin C. During this time I also manage to bit my cheek in my sleep which of corse turned into a Canker soar.

By the start of last week, I had a full-blown Canker soar in my mouth and felt a scratch on the back of my throat. I knew that if I did not start doing something to try and combat this soon, I would be laid up in bed and calling in sick to work before the end of the week.

I immediately started drinking a lot of water. I’m talking over 64 ounces a day. It sounds like a lot of water, but if you keep at it through out the day it really is not a big deal.

I also did some reading online and on that same day started washing my mouth out with salt water. This was amazing. It stung in my mouth because of my Canker soars, but shortly after my mouth stopped hurting.

So, in doing the salt water mouth wash a few times a day and drinking a lot of water resulted in not feeling all that sick this last week. I never ended up with a sore throat and even through I am only slightly congested it is nowhere near my normal level of congestion I have had in the past.

The salt water as also sped up the Canker sore healing process as well as made it tolerable to eat when the soar was at its worst.

Do you know of any remedies to reduce how long you might be sick or to make canker soars feel better and heal faster? I would love to hear them. Leave a comment below.

iBooks Authoring and Me

ibooks authoringNot long ago Apple introduced a book authoring program called ‘iBooks Authoring’. Its an application that makes publishing books to the Apple iBooks store a whole lot easier. One of the reasons my book ALL THAT MATTERS was not published to the iBooks store was because of how difficult it was to do so. To solve this problem Apple has made an application that will make the whole process of publishing to their store easier.

When I checked out the application on the Mac App store the other day I saw loads of comments from people who have already used it publish their own books and that it was very easy.

But will I use it?

The answer is yes and no.

I will use ‘iBooks Authoring’ to post ALL THAT MATTERS so it will finally be available on the Apple iBooks store. I plan to do that as soon as I am done writing MIRROR IN TIME. While I have been writing my second book, I have been planing in the back of my head to hire a third party to code out the book for the Kindle, Nook, iBooks, and other e-book readers. Coding out the first book took up a lot of my time and I just assume put that in someone else’s hands who has more experience than me at doing it.

Addiction

sodaI admit it, I am and addict. My addiction, soda pop.

I love soda. I love how it tastes. I love how it makes me feel. As soon as I have finished one bottle, I am jonesing to open the next one.

Soda is my drug when I need a fix. It’s my cigaret when I need a break. It’s my coke when I need a hit. It is my one true addiction that I just can’t break. It is my vice.

I have read in the ‘4 Hour Body’ book that diet soda can prevent weight loss. That anything more than a can of diet soda a day will mess with your goal to loose weight and it is true. I have been tracking my weight daily since I started the Slow Carb diet and it’s clear that my recent plateau is a direct result of the diet soda I drink daily.

I have already started to ween myself off this insane addiction and it already feels like an uphill battle in the cold of night. With all the ingredients in diet soda like Aspartame, Phophoric Acid, Potassium Benzoate, Phenylketonurics, and Phenylalanine there is no way this is healthy for anyone on the planet. These two dollar words on the side of my diet soda bottle are probably the reason why I am addicted to it like heroin in the first place.

Green TeaTo get off this addictive nectar I am taking a couple of approaches. The first one is just a slow ween off. Everyday I am going to slowly reduce how much diet soda I drink till I am off or at least get down to 1 can of diet soda a day as recommended by the ‘4 Hour Body’ book. (The author of wich admits to be a huge addict of Diet Coke and states that reducing how much he drank was very difficult.) As I ween myself off of diet soda, I am going to supplement my caffeine needs with green tea. Green tea is great antioxidant and good for your metabolism.

As far as my weekly cheat day goes, I believe I am still going to drink a lot of soda. But on my cheat day I have always drank real sugar soda like Jones Sada, or Pepsi Throwback. The ingredients in these sodas are fewer and you can actually pronounce them unlike the ingredients in diet sodas.

Ice Road Juneau

Snowy Juneau plowsThe snow has really been coming down on us this year. It is safe to say that the city and borough of Juneau, Alaska has forgone any responsibility toward keeping our roads safe to drive on.

I can understand a place like Seattle not keeping their roads clear of snow an ice. Weather conditions like the ones they have recently suffered, have been dubbed SnowPocalypse or SnowMageddon, are not a daily, monthly, or even yearly occurrence. They are just as random as achieving a critical hit in Dungeons & Dragons. So I can let places like Seattle slide on having bad to unsafe road conditions every few years. It’s hard for a city to justify having plow trucks for a meteorological even that happens randomly and lasts for such a short time.

A place like Juneau, Alaska on the other hand is much harder for me to forgive. The city and state know that each year it is going to snow. They know each year what the roads are going to be like. Yet, for some reason this year they do not seem to be taking the task seriously.

snowy JuneauIn years past I could rarely drive down any road in Juneau and not see a city plow truck scraping snow and ice off of the streets during the winter. This year it has been a rare occurrence that I have seen a city plow truck and when I do they are not scraping the streets as they plow the snow. This has resulted just about every road in Juneau is covered in ice. Everyday that I have driven to work or driven home in the last several weeks I have seen a car accident of one kind or another.

What is more astonishing to me is that it is currently January, almost February now, and the city has still done nothing to correct this behavior. Even after citizens have complained. Sadly, I think it is going to take a vehicle accident involving some kind of official for them to step up their responsibilities to normal levels.