Tarantula Keeper’s Journal Entry 2 : Random Observations

Sometimes there is too much information absorbed too quickly. For instance, in my reading of “sling care”, I interpreted my Grammostola pulchripes [the Chaco Golden Leg’s real name] behavior as “pre-molt” (what they do before shedding the old exoskeleton). Instead, it uses the bark hide and burrows below it normally. Badass hunter, probably 2nd only to the adult G. porteri. I’d take a picture, but the booger is in its sling-cave vegging. (If I ate 1/2 a cow in one sitting, hooves and all, I’d be vegging as well.)

—–update—-got a shot of the Chaco peeking out of the hide/burrow.  😀

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I’m probably going to name my G. rosea sling: “Iskierka”, after the baby dragon born on the battlefields in Naomi Novik ‘s “Temeraire” series.
That dragon was a little bloodthirsty fiend, an awesome smartass, and I cannot help but make the comparison. (Yeah, I’m a geek. …heh.)

This lil go-getter tries to take down crickets almost as big as herself. Then she realizes, “uh…nope, nope, nope” and boogies to the top of her hide until I injure the food for her. Then, of course she pounces, and drags it all over the cage before settling down to devour the entire thing like she did the deed all herself.  😀

I have four spiders, and they all have different personalities. (We won’t mention Fumblebutt and her need for bifocals for hunting.) …heh.

Tarantula Keeper’s Journal Entry 1: History

From the pov of the spider
So the last week I’ve been busy. It seems that a new hobby always requires an inordinate amount of time at the outset before settling down.

I am now the proud owner of four Tarantulas. Two immature adults that I rescued from a Petco and two spiderlings (slings) that were mail ordered from Swift’s Invertebrates in Mississippi.

This post at first seemed like an overwhelming task as there is a lot to say and describe, and I’d rather be writing novels than a non-fiction book about this, but like any hobby that intrigues and excites the hobbyist, I get excited talking about it.

I decided that I’m going to treat this section of my blog as an ongoing journal. Not so much date specific, rather things I find interesting about the hobby, the antics of my 8-legged cats (which I will elaborate on in further posts), and my journey from a noob “Keeper” to an experienced one.

The nicest part of this hobby is that it is far less intense than many other pet-keeping responsibilities. These creatures are extremely hardy, long-lived and the only emotions they have involve catching their prey and kicking back. They don’t care about their owners, pretty much like cats…mostly. And I’ll get to that part as well going forward.

For now, this is a little background on how I came to WANT to do and be a part of this hobby.

The Golden Orb Weaver Spider

The Golden Orb Weaver Spider

First up, I have been a fan of spiders…arachnids, for most of my life…as far back as early elementary school when I read E.B. White’s “Charlotte’s Web” and fell in love with the little barn spider who saved the piglet’s life. The picture above is that of a Golden Orb Weaver which was actually my first pet other than some goldfish in a 10 gallon aquarium.

The Weaver's Web

The Weaver’s Web

At around the age of 15, one of these  spiders set up shop outside my basement bedroom window. Watching her build her web and catch bugs was endlessly fascinating. This was also the year that I took Biology class in highschool. So after a quick request from the teacher, finding an old terrarium/aquarium in the class storage area, I captured the weaver and we set her up in the terrarium at school. The spider received so many crickets, grasshoppers and other bugs that I’m surprised she didn’t burst at the seams. In her web, there were at least 5-10 “sack lunches” dangling every day the rest of the year. (My classmates thought it great fun to help out here.)  -heh.

Sadly, as is the nature of most “true” spiders, she laid her egg sac and like Charlotte in the story, curled up and died shortly thereafter, having done her duty.

Years went by, and I would occasionally read up on the animals, getting irritated with how people always seemed to want to just kill them. It is my firm belief that Hollywood is directly responsible for a lot of this, turning these amazing creatures into the stuff of nightmares.

They are nature’s very own “no-pest-strips” and in general are not pests. They kill and eat the pests. But try and convince someone who just watched that pile of dogcrap film “arachnophobia”. -sigh.

For a long time I admired people who were raising tarantulas (the pictures of people holding the animals was just sooo cool!) and I often wondered if I would have time and money to get my own.
Then several months ago I happened upon an article talking about the spider trade, and I discovered that the hobby is actually very reasonably priced, so I started researching.

I found that the prices of these creatures depended upon the species, with some being as expensive as some rare or large songbirds or salt water exotic fish, and others being as cheap as 20$-30$ (U.S.).
Hope sprang up and more reading and researching was done. Then based on online recommendations  in several places, I picked up a copy of this book:

T Keeper's GuideThis volume is pretty much universally considered “THE BIBLE” for T-Keepers. After devouring it pretty much cover to cover in a reading frenzy I usually reserve for fiction, I realized that not only did I have the funds to do this, I had the time. Tarantulas, after all, don’t eat all that much or that often, and for the cost of one bag of good quality dogfood, I could probably keep 6-10 of these creatures fat and sassy in crickets for a coupla’ years. 😀

Originally I was going to just order a couple “slings” -the hobby term for “spiderlings” which are very inexpensive, but while shopping at my local petco for some preparatory supplies, I stopped by their reptile aisle (where the “T’s” are kept) and saw they had two “Chilean Rosehairs” available.

They aren’t actually called that, but I’m nit picking. The bad thing was that they were housed under UV light, and that is a bad BAD thing. (More on that later.) One was about 4 1/2″ diameter, and the other a little smaller. They get to about 5″ at maturity, so I knew that these spiders weren’t all that old.

Seeing that store had a 50% off sale in the reptile aisle, this meant that I could purchase both of them for 30$ total.

So I did. 🙂

And that is the history in a very condensed fashion.

Next post will be all about first impressions, learning the habits of these amazing animals, “SLINGING it”…as well as discovering that they at some point share more than a few qualities with cats.  -and I’m not kidding there. More than most folks realize.

Grammostola porteri

Grammostola porteri
“Chilean Rose -Brown”
One of mine!

 

Virgin Islands Blog Bits 1

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The View from my Cabin

May 6th, 2015

1.
So, 38,000 feet up in the air over pure blue ocean. Just passed the bahamas a little while ago. It occurs to me that in all my years of travel (5 years as a field engineer flying every week), AND traveling half way around the world back in the Navy days…I’ve never actually flown over the ocean….well, maybe corners of it…but never OVER it over it.  Kinda’ nifty. (The Navy days were filled with SAILING over the ocean. 😀 )

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Over the Bahamas

I’ve been taking pictures like a madman, and although I’ve been up about 18 hours, I’m not tired. I guess I really needed this break. Most of those pics are for me, as views out the cabin window are pretty much done to death. What I have here are some highlight shots of the journey.

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The Mississippi River

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Ready to roll out of Atlanta

Another thing. Getting out of one’s comfort zone and experiencing things new, strange and unknown is living. I’m out of my comfort zone. I’m flying solo to a place I’ve never been. Doing something I’ve never done before. This is probably just as responsible for my inability to crash out on these plane rides.

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Honeymoon Bay/beach from above at Sunset

2. Settling in at my cabin. It pretty much is EXACTLY as I expected, and wanted. –well except the refrigerator isn’t being as “cold” as it should be for the ol’ icemaking purposes, but oh darn.

3. Took a hike down to Honeymoon Beach to grab some food. Dingy’s Bar and Grill is about as stereotypical a Jimmy Buffet hangout as you can get.  Love it. heh.

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Bingo on the Beach

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Yes, first hours in I got my feets to ze beach!

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Me, a local brew and a beach

4. Was so tired from the trip day that when I got back the hill (a steep one at that), I decided to fall down on my bed and get some much needed rest. I will add that the bed is comfortable, the breeze blowing in from the ocean is nice and even though it is 80 degrees and humid as hell, it feels really really really (x 10) good.

I’m writing this last point after getting up before the sunrise. The wifi provided by the campground kinda sucks, so another goal here achieved. I’m really “offline” for the most part other than basics.

5. I will blog the day’s pictures and thoughts at the end of those days, and bounce a post up here.

As it happens! Riding with Casey on a Wednesday! Thursday! Tuesday! er…

After getting jazzed by Las Vegas Cabbie Chronicles blog post the other day, I decided to take my trusty netbook out with me and do a blow by blow as it happens journal of a typical night. Figuring Friday/Saturday is NOT the best time to try this as those nights are non-stop mayhem, I figured I’d take a couple slower nights and so, with minimal editing, here’s the result:

Wednesday, 06/01/2011
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Wednesday, 06/01/2011 07:08:56 PM
Booked in and ready to roll. Some jobs out there, but at the moment my zones are quiet. Futzing with this journal tool called “Rednotebook”. Pretty nice interface.

Wednesday, 06/01/2011 07:23:22 PM
First bell call. 80th/sheridan-king soopers. On it.
short hop with groceries. deaf in one ear, and possible brain leak in the other, but hey, fare was paid.

Wednesday, 06/01/2011 07:39:18 PM
bell call. house of babes -short hop. cleared at Wednesday, 06/01/2011 07:54:09 PM

Wednesday, 06/01/2011 07:54:23 PM -rolling to get signal to meter. -blargh. This is annoying as hell. There are deadzones in the northern ‘burbs to our autocab computer system…gps works great, but no signal…no jobs.

Wednesday, 06/01/20117: 59:01 PM bell walmart short hop
clear at Wednesday, 06/01/2011 08:13:46 PM

Wednesday, 06/01/2011 08:22:11 PM staged at 92nd/sheridan kinkos. email check.

Wednesday, 06/01/2011 08:39:41 PM bell call to Saudi Arabian student apartments. 112th ave.
Semi-regular customer. Good guy and tips. probably will direct call for return after the movies.
cleared at Wednesday, 06/01/2011 09:02:10 PM

staging at the Westin Hotel at Wednesday, 06/01/2011 09:02:25 PM
doorman pokin’ his nose about. douchebag…Sent him on his way with “on hold for one of your customers”. lol.
Bells are piling up in Aurora again but dead in my neck of the woods. might re-stage over at Starbucks again for wifi. -typical Wednesday. hopefully it will pick up in a bit.

Wednesday, 06/01/2011 09:20:37 PM bell call to fed/80th liquor store. sigh.. we’ll see.
Oh wait. its L the Asian-micro-mini-massage therapist. 😀
Mouth like a sailor, barely speaks English, and hilarious every time she gets in my cab.
“My ex, he have-a the sex with an old beetch. I tell him…you go away…stupid bastard…I mean, have-a the sex with young honey, no problem, but old used up beetch? I divorce him last year…bastard.” -just one of the quotes during the ride.
Cleared Wednesday, 06/01/2011 09:41:27 PM

Wednesday, 06/01/2011 09:41:49 PM bell to players club to pick up used car salesman who was seriously hammered. Got him home as Big B (regular) called for a ride. Wednesday, 06/01/2011 10:02:21 PM

Dropped B and his girlfriend L at the trailer. Took a bio break and got smokes at 7-11 with meter stopped to avoid another call.

cleared at Wednesday, 06/01/2011 10:22:27 PM

staging at 7-11. Board died off a bit. change up time. rolling for more coffee at starnobles. If no calls, I might as well.

Wednesday, 06/01/2011 10:33:07 PM mmmm coffee goooood. All set for the next half o’ the evening. board is picking up. might bid something just for a change o’ pace if no bell……….er……… damn it all. firehouse tavern bell. 104th and quivas with the ladiesnightfreebeer idiots. x’in fingers that its not, but hey.

cleared at Wednesday, 06/01/2011 10:51:00 PM and it was a good fare/tip/plus round trip at the end of the night. -maybe.

staged at kinkos again for wifi at Wednesday, 06/01/2011 10:59:41 PM

Wednesday, 06/01/2011 11:16:10 PM bell for at amc theatres for my semi-regular customer and back to Arabia apartment land with him!

cleared at Wednesday, 06/01/2011 11:31:47 PM

looks like I’m going to get belled immediately…unless that bid is a van job. we will see…..oh this fracking stupid cab computer…it loses signal to base all the damn time…and I’m betting I just lost a gig because of it….again. sigh. yep. job gone. FRACK. rolling back to my stage point. blargh.

bid call at Wednesday, 06/01/2011 11:54:42 PM -dammit that should have belled to me, but noooooooo. got it anyway. house call.

Thursday, 06/02/2011 12:43:00 AM cleared….gads. The droogs were wanted by the cops. At pickup location, black/n/white is looking for someone…cop approaches my car and as my address looks bogus we’re both sitting at the entrance to the place (townhomes). He gives me a description of the woman he’s looking for and asks for a 911 callback if my ride matches up. A couple minutes later I hook up with my fare for a 4 block ride. They were a couple not matching the description the cop gave me, but acting weird plus… 4 blocks…uh, yeah. Arvada PD wanted to talk to the woman because apparently she flipped/crashed/wrecked her car and ran. The two droogs that got in the car went 4 blocks….and were really sweating the fact that the cops wanted to speak with them or the woman. My job isn’t to deal with confrontation, so dropped them off. Turns out that the two in the car didn’t match his description, BUT the lady waiting for em’ with a beat up P.O.S. 4×4 at the gas station DID. some nights…sheesh. Anyway, their license plate was bent up…and off they went. (They paid and tipped though, so what the hey!)
I called 911 as requested by the officer that had been looking for the suspect.
After chatting with 911 dispatch…off I went as well.

Picking up my regular at Charlie’s web now. Back to normal.
Thursday, 06/02/2011 12:46:02 AM

Staging at Electric Cowboy now at Thursday, 06/02/2011 01:20:36 AM

Thursday, 06/02/2011 01:53:38 AM -called a slightly early night. Made lease plus some. works fer me.

Thursday, 06/02/2011
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Thursday, 06/02/2011 06:54:38 PM -made a lease payment at Metro HQ. Rolling to northern burbs to start the night.

Thursday, 06/02/2011 07:14:13 PM- booked in zone 214. board is clear in my neck of the woods. Sitting at Kinko’s enjoying a wonderful sunset…well soon to set anyway. gorgeous and 85degrees out right now.

Thursday, 06/02/2011 08:29:59 PM -hoping to jinx the job board into a call into my zone by typing about it here. Took a break for dinner, watched the sun set into the west and caught up on email,f.book, twitter stuff, political reading, and now updating this here journal. One gig up my way, but waaaay up north at 136th at the walmart. Too far to go for a guaranteed short hop ride. blargh.

Thursday, 06/02/2011 08:32:43 PM-flatirons crossing. got one! Rolling.

Thursday, 06/02/2011 10:02:16 PM
Okay. bell bell bell. Since my last entry, I’ve rolled the flatirons call (with Canadians….oooh 50 cent tip on a 20buck ride. Gotta luv them canucks. -sigh. Then nailed a drunk/sick/latino guy who missed his bus. He tipped a buck….on 6, so latinos 1 canucks 0. Then right after that a regular call from Big B for a ride from the laundromat to home…short hop, but he’s always a good ride and tipper. THEN immediately bell’d to walmart. Lady had a TON of groceries, stocking up as her husband and her are in town for seasonal pool construction work. Nice tip. And now, sitting at 72nd/Sheridan near drug transaction central at the McDonalds. board died off, so gonna roll back up to my stage zone at Starnobles.

Thursday, 06/02/2011 10:21:23 PM regular call from Old Town tavern. rolling. Again a short hop, nice tip. (gotta love regulars!)

Thursday, 06/02/2011 11:01:37 PM board is STILL dead. This is a slow Thursday, and I’m irritated a bit. I’m pushing up on rent this month, and I didn’t need a slow week…of course murphy’s law, and now I’m knockin’ on wood to avoid the cabbie gods wrath.

Oh yeah. Cabbie gods. They are a subset of the serviceindustrygods, inc./tm. who dole out good/bad nights/days to those of us taking care of the public. My twitter buddy LVCabchronicles has mentioned that the cabbie gods forbid two days in a row of good fares, and I’m hard pressed at this point to dispute that claim. Of course, its not quite bar rush time yet, so hey.

Oh and I will again re-iterate just how much I think the invention of the laptop/netbook touchpad is the result of drinking drano by some 5th avenue marketing dude. I pine for the old IBM trackpoint keyboards (with the little eraser in the middle) which didn’t go ballistic if you breathed on the damn thing wrong. meh.

Board is picking up again, but nothing in my zones as of yet. I should move out of this area (old town arvada) as I’m in position 2 and that’s usually not the best position to be in. Yep. blazing a bit further north at Thursday, 06/02/2011 11:07:34 PM

Thursday, 06/02/2011 11:15:15 PM belled to hutches blue bar (seriously divey biker bar on the north side). Quick ride. A regular call to platinum 84 and then quickly another call at Thursday, 06/02/2011 11:55:06 PM to Firehouse tavern. Gettin’ busier.

Dropped firehouse tavern and cleared….and then the damn board went dead. This is a strange thursday. sigh. Oh well. Picking up another regular at Charlie’s Web on 88th in a short bit, and bar rush is coming up in about an hour. Might roll late tonight fishing for DIA calls. Not sure yet.

Regular P84 customer called…as did P84. Got my regular…I think the cops got the other customers as they weren’t out front…but a Fed.Heights cop was bustin’ some folks in the parking lot. ka-whups.

Finished the night and….(about 30 minutes later at Friday, 06/03/2011 03:08:58 AM

So, p84 called again for a stripper pickup right as I got home…and of course I’ll roll to that call as they are good customers, but….strippers are sometimes the ultimate airheads (my regular girls being wonderful exceptions) and this one….stood me up. Got there and she had left…how? The doorman didn’t have a clue and he was pissed, because he called for her. This is NOT anything new though. The largest group of “no jobs” I get on a nightly basis are almost ALWAYS strip joints. Either the customers decide to get in their car and chance it or the stripper gets a ride from a customer, and I end up wasting a trip. Tis part of the game, and I get it, but I doth grindeth my teeth about it from time to time.

Back home and…

So fair journal, I leave you now for other home stuff and will commence the nightly journey in about twelve hours. Gonna roll early on Friday.

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Oh and all real names have been changed to protect the idiots/droogs/goofballs as well as the cool folks who inhabit my “office” from time to time!

😀