Monday, March 16, 2009

New Gecko

(Originally written on March 16th, 2009. Posted to COSA18 on September 16th, 2009.)

     After a doctor's appointment today, my dad and I went to Barnes & Noble so he could spend his gift card (he bought a book with poetry/CDs, I'll post a link to it later) that he got yesterday for his birthday.

     We went to Petco next door to look at geckos. Over the weekend I gathered correct information on the care of leopard geckos, credit to many websites I googled and especially, where members actually directly helped me out. I highly recommend signing up, it's a large community of friendly people, and it's not only for geckos, but for other reptiles.

     Anyway, today at Petco I picked up a log similar to this, a thermometer (not sure if this is the one I should have or not), and a red light bulb. Before just buying a gecko, I requested to be able to touch them all, like advised on various websites. I poked at all of them, and picked up a few. There were two that were larger than the others, but not as large as the ones I saw the other day in Tampa. I eventually picked out the one that came home with me (even though he is really small), who as you can see in the picture is quite bright and colorful, which definitely matches the personality he's showing. He loves to be held, and you have to nudge him a couple times to get him off of your hands! He's really cute, and I'm still debating on names (which I list at the end of this blog).

     It was suggested that I should get a gecko from a show or breeder rather than a pet store (especially chain I'd imagine), but I looked up breeders and couldn't find any close enough to me, or any shows in the near future (some just passed actually).

     Later on (after taking him home) we (+Kirk this trip) went to PetLand to buy crickets and another small hut. We looked for fake plants, but they didn't have much of a selection. They had leopard geckos there too, two for 50$. Oh well though, I'm really happy with the one I got.

     We went to Publix after for carrots and an apple to feed to the crickets to gutload them, hopefully it works and I'm doing it right. I might switch to the pre-condensed gutload cubes later on though depending on the opinions on GeckoForums.

     Here's a video of him that I made for a friend:

Smoking During Pregnancy

(Originally written on March 16th, 2009. Posted to COSA18 on September 16th, 2009.)

     This is a topic that has bothered me for as long as I have been aware of smoking and pregnancy in general.

     I've seen it come up often in my life as of late, I'm older, and more of my friends/acquaintances are having children. With that, people I know feel the need to smoke (some who aren't even 18, in which that case it's illegal), and don't care enough to quit while pregnant. Check out this quote from

"Smoking-related diseases claim an estimated 438,000 American lives each year, including those affected indirectly, such as babies born prematurely due to prenatal maternal smoking and victims of "secondhand" exposure to tobacco's carcinogens."

     However, if you're smoking while pregnant I doubt the facts are going to get under your skin far enough to make you quit because you've probably heard it from others. Everyone knows that smoking can hurt developing babies, but sometimes that isn't enough.

     So from my own opinions, first of all smoking is absolutely disgusting, pregnant or not. You're really putting toxins up to your lips, and for what? To get through hard times? That's an excuse, because up until the moment you picked up your first cigarette you got through life without them (it doesn't matter how well you did, the fact is you did because you're still here). But today I'm not here to lecture you on your own health as much as I am about your unborn child's health. Here is another quote from

"More than 60 percent of all crib deaths, also known as sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), could be prevented if people stopped smoking around their babies and pregnant women, the report in the British Medical Journal said."

     If you read carefully, that's just around babies and pregnant women. I am absolutely positive the risks go up if you are the pregnant woman smoking! Not only that, it is positively selfish to smoke while pregnant, because not only are you harming yourself, but you are harming another human being that cannot get away from it. Do you really want to bring a child into the world who's body is telling them to get away from you? Smoking is toxic, and while it doesn't directly kill like heavier narcotics, it kills nearly half a million lives in just America due to related issues (as said in a quote above).

     Cutting down on cigarettes won't save your baby either. It's proven that those that force themselves to smoke fewer cigarettes inhale deeper when they do, equaling the effects of smoking more cigarettes with regular inhalation.

     If you're pregnant and you can't control yourself enough to stop smoking while pregnant, in my opinion you're not ready to be a mother. If you cannot control one extremely dangerous aspect of your life, and can't show self-control from the very beginning, how can you raise a child healthily with such personal bad habits? Children take lessons from their parents sub-consciously very early on. Do you really want your children to take after your horrible examples? Be honest with yourself. No matter how many times you tell your children or other people's children, "Don't smoke like I do, don't ever grow up and smoke," you're still showing by example—which delivers a stronger message—that smoking is okay.

     Abusing substances, and even alcohol, is horrible. However, there is hope. There are many ways and many people that are willing to help you overcome addiction, and you can take the first step today. If you decide today is the first day, or maybe you just want to see what it's about, try finding a Narcotics Anonymous meeting near you with this locator. Generally NA isn't typically for those that smoke just cigarettes, but if you're a pregnant woman smoking then I'm sure someone there has some advice or direction they'd be willing to offer.

     All in all, good luck with your baby. I hope you make the correct decision!

Daddy's 39th Birthday

(Originally written on March 16th, 2009. Posted to COSA18 on September 16th, 2009.)

     March 15th was my dad's 39th birthday. :) Happy birthday!

     On Saturday (the 14th) we went to visit our family in Tampa, and they had a cook out for my dad's birthday with hamburgers, hot dogs, potato/macaroni salad, chips, etc. We had a good time, the food was really good. Mema Kay made chocolate cake and banana pudding for dessert. Kirk missed mostly everything however, my mother picked him up from the house in Tampa and he spent the night with her. I took a ton of pictures (and some videos), which I put on Flickr today.

     Today (technically yesterday because it's 1:30am, haha) we had a party here at home for my dad. Stephanie, Lisa's friend Audra, and Lisa's parents Chuck and Peggy came over. We had caesar salad, chicken marsala, and spaghetti. For dessert we had teramasou, cannolis, and gelato. I took pictures/videos today as well.

     The presents my dad got overall: G1 phone, Pizzazz pizza maker, bike gloves, bike tire gauge, lemoncello, Barnes & Noble gift card, book light, $50, and a picture I drew him with a quote of Arthur Schopenhauer.

Friday, March 13, 2009


(Originally written on March 13th, 2009. Posted to COSA18 on September 16th, 2009.)

     I was still down today, naturally. I've looked up a lot of information about leopard geckos, and I found I did a lot of things wrong with V. I feel guilty because I did so many things wrong, but I honestly didn't know. One thing I have learned is to NOT TRUST PET STORES. Advice they give is usually WRONG WRONG WRONG. I looked up PetLand's website, and they say to put a bright light over your reptile (categorizing them all together), and I read on a website for gecko care that such lights can make them not eat.

     If I do get another gecko, it will of course not be the same. But I will have a lot more knowledge than I did with Vincent. However, the guilt still tugs at me, because it's not his fault I had poor knowledge. It's mine, but it isn't at the same time. I was fed wrong information, and believed it, and he suffered ultimately in death.


     Well, today I went out with Steph. We went to Olive Garden, I saw Casey Anthony's parents and brother there, which I thought was worth sharing as a 'celebrity sighting', even though I've seen her mom 'in the flesh' before. Anyway, they got rid of the entree I love (it was limited time only unfortunately), so I probably won't be back there for a while.

     We went to JoAnn's to get something for Steph's ceiling fan, but instead she got three pairs of knitting needles (some ridiculously huge), three balls of yarn, some acrylic paint, and brushes, haha.
After we went to Stardust for the slam, which was our initial reason for the outing. /shrug


     Here's some pics. This one is my word map in the game of Bananagrams we played at Stardust. Pretty fancy words~

     Here's some of the enormous needles Steph wanted to buy, that I talked her out of, lol

     And here's some cookies I made last night.

"The moment you step out that door, you have to depend on fellow humans valuing their lives. If they don't, they will kill you. If you don't, you will kill them." - Me

Thursday, March 12, 2009

RIP Vincent Valentine 3/11/09

 (Originally written on March 12th, 2009. Posted to COSA18 on September 16th, 2009.)

     You've been sick for a long time.

     We tried everything, but guilt still pulls at me, and by instinct I am screaming blame within. I know deep down it's not my fault, or anyone's fault, but having someone to point the metaphorical blame finger at would make this all make sense.

     You were so young, only a few years. I still remember the day I got you. You were so tiny, and out of all the other geckos in your tank at PetLand, your tail was absolutely perfect. It was so long, I loved it. Your curious cat-like eyes grabbed me, and I knew you were the new friend I was gaining that day.

     I've always been scared to feed you because you ate crickets, but I remember sometimes I would feel bad because someone had forgotten to feed you for me. Despite all my fears, I put a few crickets in your cage myself, so you wouldn't be hungry.

     And now, well over a year later, you seemed to not want to eat at all. I thought maybe it was just the seasons changing, but I didn't remember you shying away from food that way. Every few times you've eaten in the past few months it's lifted a weight off my heart, knowing you're still hungry.

     But then you stopped opening your eyes. You just walked around with them closed, and stayed in the same position for over twelve hours until I moved you. I remember when the slightest tap on your cage woke you, and you came to nose my finger even though it was through glass. But lately you don't stir at even the loudest tap.

     You've passed now, and I'm crushed. I keep looking up at where your cage was (I couldn't stand to look at the empty cage anymore, so I moved it), expecting to see you looking back like you used to. But then it hits me again that you're really gone. I'll miss you more than anyone knows.

     Tomorrow I will bury you, and with you, your belongings. I'll miss how you sat on my shoulder, or curled up in my pocket to sleep. Or how just the other day when we were sitting outside you crawled towards me and into my pant leg to sleep. I'll miss you so much, I can't say it enough. No one will ever replace you. You'll always be special to me, you were the first lizard I've ever had.

     Kauvuo, Daddy, and I love you very much, Vincent Valentine.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Grow up or die.

(Originally quoted on March 3rd, 2009. Posted to COSA18 on September 14th, 2009.)

"The irony of religion is that because of its power to divert man to destructive courses, the world could actually come to an end... Plain fact is, religion must die for mankind to live. The hour is getting very late to be able to indulge having in key decisions made by religious people. By irrationalists. By those who would steer the ship of state not by a compass, but by the equivalent of reading the entrails of a chicken. George Bush prayed a lot about Iraq, but he didn't learn a lot about it... Faith means making a virtue out of not thinking. It's nothing to brag about. And those who preach faith and enable and elevate it are intellectual slaveholders keeping mankind in a bondage to fantasy and nonsense that has spawned and justified so much lunacy and destruction. Religion is dangerous because it allows human beings who don't have all the answers to think that they do. Most people would think it's wonderful when someone says, "I'm willing, Lord! I'll do whatever you want me to do!" Except that since there are no gods actually talking to us, that void is filled in by people with their own corruptions and limitations and agendas... And anyone who tells you they know, they just know what happens when you die, I promise you you don't. How can I be so sure? Because I don't know, and you do not possess mental powers that I do not. The only appropriate attitude for man to have about the big questions is not the arrogant certitude that is the hallmark of religion, but doubt. Doubt is humble, and that's what man needs to be, considering that human history is just a littany of getting shit dead wrong... This is why rational people, anti-religionists, must end their timidity and come out of the closet and assert themselves. And those who consider themselves only moderately religious really need to look in the mirror and realize that the solace and comfort that religion brings you comes at a horrible price... If you belonged to a political party or a social club that was tied to as much bigotry, misogyny, homophobia, violence, and sheer ignorance as religion is, you'd resign in protest. To do otherwise is to be an enabler, a mafia wife, for the true devils of extremism that draw their legitimacy from the billions of their fellow travelers. If the world does come to an end here, or wherever, or if it limps into the future, decimated by the effects of religion-inspired nuclear terrorism, let's remember what the real problem was. We learned how to precipitate mass death before we got past the neurological disorder of wishing for it. That's it. Grow up or die." - Bill Maher