. . . . . . . The Daily Blarf

Monday, October 31, 2005

this post was written before the death of my grandmother. please excuse the lack of tact in regards to blarfing about a dead fish instead of grandma. oh, and happy halloween.


A Shark Tale: Too Good For The Toilet

my first bala shark, or Balantiocheilus melanopterus, came home from the pet store two years ago. i fell in love with the faux sharkieness--the tall dorsal fin, bright silver body, and that almost cartoonish face. i loved the way he stayed perfectly still with the slightest flit of his fins, only to dart off to another spot with Jaws-like presence. but as imposing as he was, he was still the most easy-going and friendliest fish in the tank. he immediately became my favorite fish. mark was staying with me at that time; he named him Sharkie. (you'll notice the three of us are listed as contributors here on the blarf.)

sharkie and i were fast friends. we were the men of men. ladies men. kings of the bachelor pad. we ruled.

then Sharkied died.

i later determined that every time i bought a new fish, sharkie was getting sick from the water that came with the new fish. on top of that, sharkie was weak from years of smoking and boozing, so it didn't take much to put him over the edge and into the toilet bowl.

but no fear! Sharkie II moved in soon after. and then he died.

and THEN, i got three more balas--a small, a medium, and a large. the small one lasted a few months before his untimely disappearance. i assume foul play was involved.

but the large and medium balas lived on. i briefly named them Spike and Chester from the looney tunes. the names didn't stick.

the original Chester and Spike

Sharkie III and Sharkie IV were quite a pair. along with their bulging tankmates, they grew to great lengths until they outgrew the 20 gallon aquarium. When i moved to my new apartment, they got a new apartment as well--a 55 gallon tank. swank! that was about a year and a half ago.

new apartment, new tank!

Sharkie III--he was the big guy. by the time i left that apartment and moved all the fish back home with me, he had grown quite large. he was about 7" long, which isn't bad for a bala. a full-size bala can be up to 15" long with the right sized tank, and i had every intention of letting him grow that large. but Sharkie III had a problem.

as a rule, balas are about the most easy-going fish you could have. they are pretty chill, even with other more-aggressive fish. a bala is kinda like the big kid in school who has the teddy bear personality. but the problem with balas is they like to jump. without a sturdy cover, your balas will be jumping in and out of the water like they are trying out for jobs at Sea World.

this was Sharkie III's problem. i have a full cover on my aquarium, save for just a little space around the water filters. Sharkie III happened to find that little space one night and jumped clear of the tank and started flopping around on the floor. i heard a noise upstairs where the tank was and assumed it was one of the cats doing some kind of stupid cat bullshit that cats do. after a couple minutes, mom came out of the bedroom after hearing the same noise and discovered Sharkie there on the floor, doing his best to find water that wasn't there. mom yelled to me and i immediately came to the rescue.

Sharkie was shaken but not stirred. but for about a week, he didn't eat and did a lot of hiding. i assume he didn't eat because he couldn't SEE anything--his eyes were scratched and cloudy from the bouncing around on the rough floor. it looked like it might be permanant damage, but after a week or so, his eyes cleared up and he was back to normal. he was one lucky little shark, because there is no one available for rescue for about 20 of every 24 hours. he was lucky it happened when it did and that mom heard him.

my big tank

he demonstrated his next trick when i was cleaning the tank one evening. i had just moved all of the fish temporarily to a 5 gallon bucket, and before i could put the metal grate over the bucket, Sharkie jumped about 3 feet into the air, did a 180, and dove back in, with the grace and skill of Greg Louganis (and without the gayness.) it was pretty cool, but yet another clue that Sharkie needed to be caged.

it was on another tank-cleaning evening that Sharkie III wasn't so lucky.

he, and all the others, including Sharkie IV, were again in the 5 gallon pail. all of the live plants were in there too, and the grate was in place. the grate is a cookie cooling rack that weighs at least half a pound and should keep just about any fish in the bucket, or so i thought. i was downstairs in the bathroom scrubbing algae and tank skank off of the filters & decorations when mom again told me that i had a fish out. as i feared, it was Sharkie III again. this time, he was at the bottom of the stairs, and he was not moving. one of the bastard cats was sniffing him, so i shoo'ed the cat bastard away as i scooped Sharkie up and raced him back to the tank. luckily the tank still had water in it after i'd taken everything out. it would be the perfect place to revive him.

only this time Sharkie wasn't coming back.

since fish don't have eyelids, he looked fine. but he was lifeless. gliding him back and forth in the water did nothing. his gills didn't move. neither did his beautiful black and gold fins, save for a slight nerve tremor.

Sharkie was gone.

i have to assume the fall down the stairs is what did him in, since fish are not designed to plummet 10 feet straight down a stairwell. and how he did that remains a mystery. the grate was knocked slightly off the bucket, giving him enough room to squeeze by during a flying leap. but the only way to get to get to the stairwell would have been to jump up on top of a chest covered with stacks of clothes, through a set of shelves, behind the couch, and then down the stairwell to his death. it was one of those million-to-one chances that actually happened.

Sharkie III, at about half his later size

i was pretty bummed. i put a lot of work into that shark. he was cool. so cool, in fact, that i couldn't bear to flush him. so i actually buried him in the backyard, next to the dog. i've never buried a fish before, and it seemed crazy, but i didn't have any alternatives. Sharkie was Too Good for the Toilet. i buried a good shark that night. it sucked.

after the funeral, i vowed to search for a shark as big as III, but it'll never be the same, no matter what the size. plus, i'm still dreading the day one of the grandkids whacks the aquarium with a baseball bat so the water & fish cascade down the stairs like spawning salmon. until then, Sharkie IV is the king of the tank, but he has some big fins to fill. i gave him a pep talk, but only time will tell if he can handle the job.

BUG THE GOAT'S PROVERB O' THE DAY: "good sharks don't die, they just jump down the stairs."

--whatever the hell that means.

to all those dead fishies out there--all drains lead to the sea! good luck.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

www.cupid.com's radio slogan: "no overseas impossiblities"--that struck a chord with me. nope, i do NOT need another one of those. i need a "within 30 miles and really cool" kind of girl.


i've got nothing cool to say today. i think it's time to have a photo spree with some lame captions to go with them. (i'm too lazy to come up with a caption for the corn picture above.)


i'm breaking my "no pictures of me on the blarf anymore cuz i'll get recognized" rule. this is me with grandpa in 1977. my mom still has that pie plate. i think dad still has grandpa's green jacket somewhere.


this was at the "Monster Jam" monster truck rally at the local speedway. the nieces & nephews absolutely had to have the grave digger toys--whatever the hell they are--those spinny-thingies with the red lights.



....Bigfoot can kick gravedigger's ass any day.


i love this picture. nothing says comedy like a cop-hating stuffed squirrel. this instant classic came from my days in new job training.


this was my most recent brush with death and/or dismemberment. when pulling out of a parking lot in the scrambler, i heard a grinding noise--DAMN! another spun hub spline, i thought. it sounded the same as in 1998 when the hub spun on the spline and i had to run it in front wheel drive. little did i know that this time, the axle shaft had actually BROKEN OFF COMPLETELY. the only thing holding the wheel on the vehicle was cohesive tension, i believe, as i drove 10 miles home in front wheel drive. after i jacked up the jeep the wheel practically fell off in my hands. i am one lucky jackass. the jeep now features new, one-piece rear axle shafts.

this was at the same time that both of my other vehicles were broken down--the explorer was laid up with a bad transfer case and the comanche lame due to a rotted radiator. i own three freaking vehicles and they were all broken down. after nearly a grand in repair costs, several headaches, hundreds of f-bombs, and a few bloody knuckles, all three are running again--for now.


while in Jreck Subs (in uniform) the other day, some crazy woman with too much makeup told me that i looked like Richard Grieco (you know, the only hollywood actor to come out of watertown until Viggo Mortenson came along.)

after determining that she was on crack, i was then told by the lady making my sub that no, i don't exactly look like Richard Grieco, but i have his eyes. she too must have been on crack, since Richard's eyes are brown, not blue (i checked.) the sub lady went on to say that she went to school with richard and even kissed him in junior high. whatever. keep dreamin', ladies. but if you want to think i look like the star of "21 Jump Street" and "Booker", go right ahead.

and THEN...

...the guys at work decided i look like a young Barry Manilow. my theme song is now "Copacabana". i'd rather be told i look like richard grieco. i would wear Barry's white leisure suit in a heartbeat, though.


Empire apples in Mexico, NY. once you try an Empire, you'll give up on those shitty Macintosh (Crapintosh) & Red Delicious (Red Disgusting) apples forever. good riddance to crappy apples.


sunrise on the farm. since i'm not working the night shift anymore, i will never come home at sunrise again. thank GOD.

update: i will be going back to night shift for a minimum of a couple weeks. that sucks.


look closely. this is my detailing trailer.


the autumn display this year has been a bit lacking cuz of all the wind and rain, but there are some good photos to be taken. this is in the backyard.


and now one from the "just what the hell is going on here" department: anyone who knows what's going on here, put your answer in the comments for super blarf points.

i guess that's it for now. i'm out of pictures and i'm out of steam. have a blarfiful day.

Saturday, October 01, 2005

“would you like your hair shampooed? it’s free with the haircut.”

translation: do i want this beautiful young woman with the huge brown eyes and the foxy little body to caress and massage my head with soapy warm water?

“sure,” i shrugged.

i just paid 18 bucks to get a haircut. plus a tip. a pretty good haircut, i’ll admit, but i’m not the type to pay that much so i probably won’t go back to the JC Penney salon anytime soon--even if they do have impossibly hot hair stylists.

is there some unwritten rule that barbers must be closed on mondays? is there some secret unwritten barber's code? my usual barber was closed today for some reason, so i looked up some other numbers in the yellow pages and struck out about half a dozen times. just about everyone was closed except for JC Penney.

and forget about finding someone to use a straight razor to shave your neck--hardly anyone does that anymore except for the old-time barbers--you know, the ones that still have the barber poles, the 2-3 old men that sit there all day, and the jar of leeches on the counter. (well, maybe not the leeches. personally, i’d shy away from any barber shop that is still equipped with leeches.)

the hardest part is finding the balance between old-school barber and metrosexual styling salon. there aren’t many places that still have the balls to whip out the straight razor and also style your hair at the same time. i prefer to have the top textured. most leech-wielding, old-school barbers will look at you like you’re a raging mega-fag if you ask for anything more than the clippers and a little snip-snip.

i still miss the Shoppingtown Barber & Styling Center in syracuse. Vinny* did it all--the neck shave, the metro-styling, everything. he even used the straight razor to texture the top. i don’t know how he did it without lacerating my scalp, and that’s why he’s the man. he even had that little thing on the counter that heated up the shaving cream and he also had the hot towels. --aaaand he also knew the difference between a new, in-style haircut vs. a frumpy-old-man haircut, and could adjust according to the customer. and it wasn’t all that expensive either. damn, i miss that place.

*not to be confused with the late Vinny K., my friend from up here.

what is the significance of the barber pole?

what the hell do leeches have to do with the barber pole?