June 19, 2010

A Fish Tale

When you travel so much, what kind of pet can you have? Well, I really, really wanna dog. I love dogs, but with my schedule it's just not feasible (or fair to the dog). Loving all animals, I have had about every kind of pet you can have and borrow other peoples' pets when they're away.

Nowadays, I settled on fish and have a big 60 gallon tank filled with white sand. I tried keeping a big, beautiful school of dainty neon tetras, which I love, but alas, they are so dainty that it was very hard keeping them alive. In fact, I ended up just killing a lot of Amazonian fish. Feeling somewhat guilty about this, I finally switched up to a heartier South American fish--a pair of bright orange tiger oscars that I named Diego and Santos, respectively. The tiny fish quickly grew into very large and very aggressive fish (which is what they're supposed to do) and became quite unruly--tapping the glass, splashing and fighting.

Also, Diego became greedier and greedier and grew larger and fatter and stronger than Santos. And then one day, Santos started swimming upside down and then eventually he was just floating upside down. Full-grown oscars are too gigantic to flush, so I had to have poor Santos euthanized (it pays to be married to a fish biologist). It was a mercy killing, given that Diego had already bitten him numerous times and peeled away large amounts of his scales (why, oh why must you be so mean, tiger oscar?)

The next day, Diego finished off the only other living thing in the tank, my 4-year old plecostoma, who I thought was immune given his size (big) and that he had been there first. I nearly cried I was so distraught.
I mean, I understand Diego's nature is to be territorial and aggressive, but the pleco was there first!

And so now I have a very large, single, angry fish who looms mightily in his territory and stares up at me with his fierce jaw every morning. I have changed his name to "Bastard" because it is far more fitting than the more humane and saintly Diego.

Bastard is the perfect pet for someone who travels lots because not only does he not care about me in the slightest, but if he doesn't get fed for a few days, it's not a big deal. He gets his fill when there is food and then makes it last. I still wish I had my itty bitty neon tetras just smiling and glowing in the light, but for now, Bastard will do.

June 14, 2010

Back from Bermuda

Still alive and kicking, just kind of swamped in work and stuff . . . "and stuff" including my past two Smithsonian lectures (India & Antarctica), lots of little work tidbits (copywriting, blogging, a few features and some articlettes) and my wedding. Yeah, I got married 10 days ago, so I've been rather occupied.

Hence, my recent trip to Bermuda was neither work-related nor anything-related other than relaxing with my better half. Now I realize all the cliche that surrounds a honeymoon to Bermuda, but there's a reason for that. I mean, I could have and would have gone anywhere in the world on my honeymoon, but I wanted something close (1 hour 45 minute flight from an airport that's a 5-minute cab ride from home, so CHECK), beautiful beaches (CHECK), civilized (CHECK), good diving (CHECK) and low maintenance (CHECK). Too bad it doesn't come in a cheaper package, but regardless of the high cost and cliche and all the rest of it, I have to say, I LOVE Bermuda. So many things are just right there. This was my second trip and will definitely not be my last.

Anyway, the above video clip is the last beach I swam on before reluctantly returning to my busy life in the city. Here's to real vacations--the kind without sightseeing or agendas or waking up too early. Just days and days of endless pink beaches to choose from.