Monterey Trip

Hello loyal fans. I have returned from my enjoyable, albeit brief, trip to Monterey. We stayed at a very nice place called the Portola Plaza and had a good time visiting the Monterey Bay Aquarium and taking the 17 Mile Drive.

The Monterey Bay Aquarium was great. If you end up going you definitely need to check out the feeding of the Outer Bay tank. It is pretty amazing to see an 800 pound tuna flying along at 25 mph. Make sure you plan your trip around this one as it only happens once a day on Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday. The tropical reef exhibits have really developed since when I was there last summer, but everything else was pretty much the same. I planned to take some pictures at the aquarium, but as it turned out I did not. I did, however, take a few shots on the 17 Mile Drive. It only took us about an hour to take the drive through the winding hillside and coast around Carmel. The houses were probably as impressive as the view much of the way. There were some ridiculously huge mansions out there sitting almost on the shore. It also seemed like many were for sale…no doubt for oodles of millions. This is, after all, in the same place as the Pebble Beach Golf Course which charges a mere $475 a round…

Monterey

Quote of the Day:

“The sea heaves up, hangs loaded o’er the land,
Breaks there, and buries its tumultuous strength.” – Robert Browning, Luria (Act I)

Published in: on July 31, 2007 at 11:02 am  Comments (1)  

90 Gallon Reef Website

Hello loyal fans. As a service to the community I have decided to keep a website documenting the development of my 90 gallon reef tank. Hopefully my efforts will both inspire and educate new and experienced reefers alike. Right now I am still teaching myself CSS (I know html) so things are a little rough around the edges, but hopefully I will get things running very smoothly not too shortly down the road. If you want to check it out, you can follow the link in my Blogroll (on the menu on the right) or just click here.

On a quasi-related note, I am off to Monterey tomorrow. While there I will, of course, be visiting the aquarium. Perhaps something I see there will serve as an inspiration for the aquascaping of the new tank. Whatever the case may be, I will post pictures from my trip!

Have a lovely weekend everyone!

Quote of the Day:

“I think that the online world has actually brought books back. People are reading because they’re reading the damn screen. That’s more reading than people used to do.” – Bill Murray

Published in: on July 27, 2007 at 10:58 am  Leave a Comment  

The Drive Through Car Wash Is Awesome

Hello loyal fans. I was driving through the car wash today and I got to thinking about just how much fun that really is. For $6 one gets a very cerebral experience. My thoughts, naturally, turned to Rose Royce’s iconic funk hit Car Wash which provided part of the soundtrack for the 1976 film of the same name. As my mind wandered from there I began to contemplate the role of funk music in the development of the blaxploitation genre. My mind naturally turned to Shaft (shut your mouth…) which brought me to Samuel L. Jackson via his horrible remake of the original which starred Richard Roundtree. Knowing that Samuel L. Jackson was born in Washington, D.C. got me thinking about our government which ultimately brought me to…no, not the war in Iraq…Alberto Gonzales. Good old Alberto is still in a bit of hot water following the firing of eight U.S. Attorneys back on December 7th, 2006. As an historian I cannot think of December 7th without thinking about Pearl Harbor which brought me to U.S. History…and so I began to wonder how my students did on the AP exam. I decided to try to check in to that tommorow. I wonder if the counselors have that information yet…

Then, the car wash ended.

If you have somehow managed to go through life without seeing Car Wash or Shaft here are a couple of movie posters to entice you. Just click the thumbnails below.

carwash shaft

Quote of the Day:

“You might not ever get rich
But let me tell you it’s better than digging a ditch
There ain’t no telling who you might meet
A moviestar or maybe even an Indian Chief” – Car Wash, Rose Royce

“Who’s the black private dick
That’s a sex machine to all the chicks?
Shaft!” – Shaft, Issac Hayes

Published in: on July 26, 2007 at 4:52 pm  Leave a Comment  

New 90 Gallon Reef Tank

Hello loyal fans. I am back and posting with a vengeance! Be aware, however, that I will be down in lovely Monterey, CA this weekend so I may briefly disappear again.

The news of the moment is my new 90 gallon reef ready aquarium. Now, it is a long way away from being set up, but the process has begun. The beautiful new tank is sitting on my apartment floor as I type. A custom built stand is in the design phase (36″ tall most likely, which will set the top of the tank at 60″) and when it is completed the real work will begin.

Equipment wise I am looking at adding an Aqua C EV-120 skimmer coupled with 500w of Metal Halide lighting courtesy of a Current USA Sunpod fixture. Will this be an SPS tank? In all likely hood it will. I have always loved those “fuzzy sticks”.

Luckily, most of the equipment from the 55 will be reused on this new endeavor. The SEIO M620 and Hydor Koralia 4 powerheads will go directly in to the 90. The Mag Drive 5 will power the Aqua C EV-120. The Aquafuge HOB Refugium will stay, though I may move it to the sump. Huzzah!

Unlike the 55 gallon, this tank is going to be gloriously designed and orchestrated. With three years of experience under my belt I am much more well prepared to properly do the plumbing and setup on this tank the way it should be done.

Updates will come as progress is made!

Quote of the Day:

“So long, and thanks for all the fishes” – Douglas Adams

Published in: on July 25, 2007 at 6:18 pm  Leave a Comment  

Kwik-E-Mart

Hello loyal fans. First, my most humble apologies to you, my readers, for the recent drought of posts. My brother was in town and we were off doing fun and exciting things (and playing a lot of Wii).

One of those activities happened to be a visit to the “Kwik-E-Mart” styled 7-Eleven in Mountain View. Talk about a major disappointment…wow. Sure, they had Squishees and Pink Donuts and such, but for all the hype that was just about it. The storefront itself did not really live up to all of my expectations. The colored panels and sign were shoddily assembled and installed. Some of them were literally falling off of the building…

For comparative purposes:

kwike1

kwike2

Inside the store there was nothing particularly Kwik-E-Martish aside from a couple of the products being sold. Buzz Cola was available (and tasted terrible) and Squishees were to be had (but the machine still said Slurpee); about the only product distinctly Simpsonsy was the pink donuts (which were available in abundance for a mere 85 cents). In that regard the Kwik-E-Mart did, indeed, live up to its cartoon namesake: it was definitely overpriced.

All and all, is it worth the 45 minute drive and $4 toll? No. If it was close by I suppose it would be worth the trip…or if you were really bored. You might as well just visit your local 7-Eleven and check out the products there…

apu

Quote of the Day:

“Thank you…come again” – Apu Nahasapeemapetilon

Published in: on July 24, 2007 at 4:27 pm  Leave a Comment  

UCLA Only 25? Bah!

Hello loyal fans. I must express my indignation about the Rivals.com analysts’ assessment of the mighty Bruins. They have ranked my UCLA Bruins as merely the 25th best team in the nation! Outrageous! The boys in baby blue are certainly better than that! This is a crime against humanity and all that is good in the world. I refuse to stand for this transgression. Someone must pay for these wrongs against my person.

Quote of the Day:

“A Trojan grad and a Bruin grad were on death row. The warden came to them to ask them if they had any last requests. The Trojan said, “I’d just like to hear ‘Conquest’ one last time.” When the warden asked the Bruin what his last request was, he replied, “kill me first.” – Source Unknown

“Members of the USC football team were placed in a remedial English class. “Because we are all new on campus we are going to start with the basics,” the professor explained. “Does anyone know what comes after a sentence?” All of the players raised their hands. “The appeal!” they all shouted with pride.” – Source Unknown

Published in: on July 18, 2007 at 2:29 pm  Leave a Comment  

Custom Aquarium Stand?

Hello loyal fans. Aside from the excitement of an exploding microwave not much is going on here.

I am still in the process of upgrading my living room furniture to be…how shall I put this…not crappy. All that is really left is the aquarium stand (provided I actually get Old Blue [the blue recliner] off to Good Will this week [anybody want a blue recliner?]). The major items I have (TV Cabinet and Coffee Table) are from the Tao Series at Cost Plus (there is that Eastern Religion thing popping up again…) and a few other things from various other sources like a Pier 1 CD rack, couch, and home finished chess set table. So…when I look around the living room the only thing which really does not fit in is the slightly damage (moving is fun) black aquarium stand.

That leaves me with two big questions to address:

1) Do I want to spend $500-600 to get a custom made aquarium stand to match everything else (teak is expensive)

2) Am I ultimately going to be happy with my 55g aquarium? Or should I upgrade to a 90g? (the stands cost essentially the same amount) And, if I were to upgrade to the 90g, will that be as big as I ultimately want? I do not want to spend $500 on a stand I will not keep for the long term…

I am fairly certain that I will not want a tank larger than 90g at any point in the near future. Sure, a 150 seems to be about the ideal size tank, but that is not feasible in an apartment (where I will likely be forever). So, in that respect a 90g seems like a good choice. The question, however, is not answered with that alone. The 90g will take up more space in my admittedly small living room (though some day I might move somewhere with a bigger living room), but I think when I rearrange things it will actually seem less full than it does now (especially with Big Blue gone). Decisions…decisions…

Quote of the Day:

“She had a beaky nose, tight thin lips, and her eye could have been used for splitting logs in the teak forests of Borneo.” – P.G. Wodehouse, Much Obliged, Jeeves

Published in: on July 16, 2007 at 2:27 pm  Leave a Comment  

Aquariums Are In High Demand

Hello loyal fans. Apparently my little classroom aquarium has inspired some other folks to set up their own! I have received a request for advice on setting up a similar saltwater setup as well as a small freshwater tank. We shall see what comes of it all, but I think it is fairly likely that both tanks will be set up and running by the beginning of the school year.

Clearly my master plan has succeeded…slowly, but surely, aquariums will be everywhere. As George W. Bush once said, “I know human beings and fish can co-exist peacefully”, and so they shall!

Quote of the Day:

“Joy to the world

All the boys and girls, now

Joy to the fishes in the deep blue sea

Joy to you and me” – Joy To The World, Three Dog Night

Published in: on July 13, 2007 at 12:46 pm  Leave a Comment  

College Football Is Coming

Hello loyal fans. It is time to start getting ready for college football season! Games are a mere seven weeks away (UCLA opens up September 1st against the hated Stanford Cardinal) and summer practices begin August 6th.

The defense, as usual, should be strong, and I think we should have a solid season if the offense can hold things together and manage to be productive. Chris Markey gives us a solid option at tailback so it sort of hinges on the play of our quarterbacks. I can not decide whether I would rather have Ben Olson or Patrick Cowan leading the offense. I really despise left handed quarterbacks, but at least you know what you are getting with Olson. I was less than impressed with Cowan’s consistency last year late in the season (despite his huge win over USC)…still he does bring a sort of flair to the offense which was lacking under Olson. In the end, it doesn’t really matter. Victory shall be ours! And, maybe we will manage to win a bowl game for a change…

fbucla

Quote of the Day (click to hear the song):

We are the Mighty Bruins,
The best team in the West.
We’re marching on to victory,
To conquer all the rest.

We are the Mighty Bruins,
Triumphant evermore.
You can hear from far and near,
The Mighty Bruin roar!

U…C…L…A

U-C-L-A! Fight! Fight! Fight!

Published in: on July 11, 2007 at 11:21 am  Leave a Comment  

Interesting Article On Anger

Hello loyal fans. I do not usually place much weight on what the Yahoo Health website has to say about anything, but this article on anger was pretty interesting. It combines my appreciation for Buddhism with some really practical knowledge.

As I go through life I am always amazed by just how many people are truly angry a great percentage of the time. All of the frustrations of life, even the trivial ones, seem to build up in some people and genuinely ruin their days. I have always been able to quickly let these things go and move on with my life. Why, I figure, should I let some other person make a mess of my day?

That is precisely what the article would argue you should do. It promotes three simple steps:

1) Keep in mind that the people who piss you off the most are probably also the ones you care the most about

2) Rather than blame others for your anger, look inside first

3) Choose to remain calm, rather than become angry

All and all, it is very Eastern, and particularly Hindu and Buddhist, in nature. If you get rid of all of those pesky emotional attachments life becomes a much more pleasant place. If you find yourself frequently angry, perhaps this article is for you! As and old Buddhist proverb says, “The greatest goodness is a peaceful mind”.

Quote of the Day:

“He who holds back rising anger like a rolling chariot, him I call a real driver; other people are but holding the reins.” – The Dhammapada

Published in: on July 10, 2007 at 11:31 am  Leave a Comment