The Fish Tank Project

I have had aquariums up and running since I was in high school. In college I lived in a tiny room that used to be a porch, for some reason I decided it was a great place for a 65 gallon (that is 4 feet across) salt water tank.

I bought the tank from my old boss and stocked it with all the fish I always wanted. Then I killed them all because I didn’t know what I was doing.

So I bought more fish, and killed them, and on and on it has gone for close to 7 years.

I upgraded to a 75 gallon tank which is currently residing my our dining room (maybe not for long).

Currently in this tank is a mated pair of true clown fish, three pajama cardinal fish, a coral banded shrimp, assorted snails and hermit crabs, a yellow goby who never comes out, and various other critters.

There is about 1/3 of the live rock I will eventually have, a feather duster that came with some of the live rock as well as some small invertebrate that I have no idea what it is.

My plan is to take this setup, which I have had running with a fair amount of stability for 3 or 4 years, and get a little crazy with it.

I am going to add a ton more live rock, fish and eventually corals to this thing.

It is not going to be cheap, and it is going to take a lot of time, I will update with pictures and developments occur.

I have always been fascinated by what goes on in the ocean, and having a tiny piece of that in my home is something I love. I am going to try to be as responsible as possible throughout this process, in as far as tank raised specimens are available, I will look to purchase them, thus limiting my tank’s impact on an already stressed environment.

The Roller Coaster That is the Mets

I have commented already this year on the roller coaster that is the Mets.

But instead of it being a fun, excited, sometimes scary roller coaster, this is like a terrifying, broken down roller coaster that I have already ridden for four years, and it is not fun or enjoyable at all. Now it is just sad and pathetic.

Luckily I am not the only one who feels this way

Take this last week for instance.

Tuesday, Mets win, everything is great. Wednesday, with two out in the 8th inning, we don’t go to our 12 million a year closer, we instead place the game in the not-so-capable hands of journeyman Manny Acosta. A grand slam later, and the game is basically over. Our manager explains after the game that if he had used his closer for 4 outs, he would have lost him for 14 days. Which makes literally no sense.

After the game, said closer beats the crap out of his father-in-law in the clubhouse, spends the night locked away in a jail cell somewhere in the bowls of Citi Field, and is facing charges of 3rd degree assault.

Later that day, when you don’t think things can get any worse, our Ace goes out and throws a complete game shutout, racking up a season high 10 Ks. All is well again.

David Wright hits .400 for the month of July and literally has 3 hits in August. What the hell is going on?

This has been the story for this team dating back to that curve ball Beltran watched for strike three in ’06. There is something inherently wrong with this team, from top to bottom, and no one small move is going to fix it.

I was watching MLB Tonight the other day, and they were talking about the total shift in culture that Baltimore has seen under Buck Showalter. I found myself wondering, if the Mets were to fire Willie, I mean Jerry today, bring in Wally Backman and have a total shift in managerial approach, would the Mets be able to have a run like the Orioles just had?

The answer I immediately came to is no, they could not. Because the problem is not just Jerry. He is part of it, but not the key. It’s not just David Wright, or Jose Reyes, or Luis Casillo, Beltran, K-Rod, Ollie or any other player. It’s not just Francouer swinging at the first three pitches he sees in literally every at bat and then running to the media to complain about playing time. It’s not just Omar’s terrible moves. It’s not just Jeff Wilpon running the team like his own personal play thing, not a productive major league team. It’s not just our image locally or nationally, it’s not just this or that.

It is all of it. The entire culture of the team from front to back and top to bottom is rotten. It’s like a cancer that took hold when Beltran watched that third strike, and has only grown worse and worse. The bandaids that have been applied have not made the cancer go away.

Has the time come for seriously considering trading Reyes, Wright, Beltran or Santana? I don’t know. But what I do know is that the status quo is not working.

I am embarrassed to be a fan of this team right now. This cancer is not going to go away. Even if this team did have it in them to make a run and sqeak into the post season, it would not change what is wrong with this organization. I am rooting for them to fail, because only in failure will any real change take place. Although, if last year is any evidence, failure in this organization…is totally acceptable.

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

So we are edging closer and closer to the reported release date and the excitement is building, at least in this house.

The EW article answers some of the questions that have been floating around 159 South Ave for months.

The biggest mystery has been (aside from how badly they will butcher my favorite of the 7 books) where will they split the film. From the time they announced that the final film would be two full length films, we have wondered (and debated) where is the best place for the split, and more importantly, where would the director choose to split it.

We now have an answer.

Part one will end when Voldemort robs Dumbledore’s grave of the Elder wand, the Death Stick, the Wand of Destiny. All of which Harry sees in his head on the banks of the lake that Harry, Ron and Hermione jumped into following their escape from Gringotts.

I was surprised to hear this because it seems to fall so late in the book. This means that Part 2 will consist of basically the battle for Hogwarts.

Part 1 will have to include parts of the Wedding, the Escape, the assault on the Ministry, all that Camping, Godric’s Hollow, Ron’s return, Malfoy Mannor, and Gringotts. Needless to say, there is going to be a lot going on in Part 1.

I have said before that the logical break would be just after Dobby’s death, Harry having just made the choice to pursue Horcruxes, not Hallows. I would have ended part one just after Harry spoke with Olivander and Griphook, and started part 2 with Harry sitting on the cliffs at Shell Cottage looking out over the ocean. But hey, what do they care what I think .

Because of where they have chosen to split the film, there will be ample time to give a full treatment to the battle for Hogwarts, the Pensive, Back into the Forrest, Kings Cross and the Flaw on the Plan.

Trying to temper my expectations is not working well.

The Silent Agreement-the kids grew apart

I don’t know what changed, I don’t know when it started to change. But, it all changed. It started slowly, and quietly. I tiny tweak here, a slightly different point of view there, and before you know it, what was, is no more. I grew up in a dream. It was the kind of growing up that people write books and movies about. It was a dream. There is nothing like being related to all your best friends. There is nothing like having so many cousins that all your friends and all your enemies are family. There were enough of us to have both cops and robbers, to have both witches and warlocks. When you have so many people that team hide-and-go-seek means teams of twenty, you have just enough people. When you go camping with your family, and the whole campground is your family, you have just enough family. There were so many of us that to camp at someone’s house for Memorial Day, or the Fourth, meant there were enough for full-scale soccer games (made more interesting by ball hogging exchange students) or kick ball games that lasted until Unkie Davie popped the ball with his iron foot.

There were so many uncles that we fielded our own softball team for years. Softball games Sunday morning turned into a post-game swim at Mom and Dad’s, which more times than not turned into impromptu Sunday picnics. There were so many people that I was never quite sure who was actually related and who just spent so much time around that the line began to blur. There was a silent agreement among all the parties that this was simply how you raised a family. The silent agreement needed no handshakes, you were just expected to be there, wherever “there” was.

It started with nine. Nine kids raised under one roof. Nine very different people raised in one too small house. Raised by a woman who can no longer can remember all that she did. She raised them by herself because the father left entirely too soon. She cannot remember now because a disease has taken her memory. A lifetime of memories, birthdays, picnics, camping trips, babies, children, grand children, great grandchildren. She cannot remember it now, so we must. Her children made a silent agreement. As their families grew, as more and more were added, those picnics, those camping trips, those birthdays, they would all be shared. No one need mention it, they just did. That is the world in which I grew up. My childhood, looking back at 27 feels like one long day, a Sunday, spent in and out of a pool, or a lake, or an ocean. No disease has robbed me of those memories yet, but fuzzy they seem. I don’t know when my life went from childhood to adulthood, I don’t know when I became one of those who forgot the silent agreement. But I am.

As I lie in bed, thinking about the fuzzy memoires. About how May tied this all together for so long, how she can no longer do it. And if she can no longer remember, or when she is no longer here, what happens then? What happens to the nine, and their kids, and their grand kids? If an agreement is silent, can it be broken, silently?

Are we beyond fixing? I feel guilt, and wonder if others do too. I make excuses, about how busy life gets. I talk about school, raising my child, working, and so much more. But I know those words are hollow. So then what, what happens then? We all will look back and say we tried. There was a time when we all tried, a little. I blinked and three years went by. How much did I miss in those three years, how much damage was done to the agreement in those years? You look at us all now, and you would never know what it was, if we didn’t remember. I could easily pretend this is simply how it has always been. It is a trick that I can play with my mind. If I think about things sometimes, at the right time, it is as if my mind is in that fuzzy place just before dawn when dreams are still real, but awake has started to set in. That place where you can start to control what you are dreaming about. When I enter that place I can make myself believe that this is how it always was. But then, after a while, the sun comes up and clears the fog of the pre-dawn dream, and I realize it was simply a dream, this is not how it always was, it was different, and maybe it was better.

But here is where we find ourselves and I lie here wondering what happens now. I am now responsible for my own actions, and beyond that, I am responsible for shaping the world that my child grows up in. There is no silent agreement now, but could there be? Could we all agree, silently that this is no way to raise children, and grand children? Can we turn back the clock on what has happened? Can we push the sun back up into the sky, and share a few more long Sundays? I wish I had answers, but all I have is questions. I question what I am doing and how I am doing it. I question if my whole life I just take the easy way, because water chooses the path of least resistance, and I am of water. Is it too much work to fix what is wrong, will we silently agree to continue doing what we are doing, because the alternative is just too much to ask? I honestly don’t know. I don’t know at what point it changes. At what point do we change? This is what we have chosen, but are we happy about, or do we simply tolerate it because like water, it is comfortable, and requires no work.

You used to have to put together the bikes you taught your children how to ride. Now you just buy them and give them to them. Someone else did the hard work. You hope they figure out how to ride them while they are at the baby sitters, how to swim without swimmies another day, because it is so much work. Is this the parent I am? Of course the answer is no. Of course would put the bike together if I had to, or would hold her by her belly while she splashed around the pool working out how to make her legs and arms work in unison. But as we look to someone else to assemble the bikes, or give the swimming lessons, so too do we look to others to fix what is wrong. Or easier yet, we look to others at whose feet we lay the blame for what has happened. Because so easy it is to look over there and see who did what, when, why and how that broke what we had.

Laying blame, however satisfying, like ice cold water run over a burn, will not stop the pain. When the water turns off, the burnt skin is still there, the water, or the blame, only made it hurt less for a bit. There are no answers to be found in these words, yet writing them down brings them into sharper focus. I am left with more questions than when I started, but have found some level of peace still. We are never quite ready to step off of the ledge. We are never quite prepared for the drop that will follow, but step we must.

We will continue, silently. Until someone speaks up.