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Friday, July 29th, 2016
2:51 pm
so now that ecuador is in the annals, there are some past updates & future updates to update on.

in early june, i took an aerobatic ride in a tiny plane. :D after strapping in, including a parachute, i was taken out between mount rainier & mount baker & we performed aileron rolls, barrel rolls, hammerheads, various types of loops, & gary (my pilot) even let me perform an aileron roll on my own. we hit 4.5G & it was pretty epic. i may or may not bother putting videos up - gary gave me two go-pros worth of footage, but i'd have to edit & i am le tired.

in late june, i received three small wounds by samppa: a cutting on my right shoulder (right where my bra strap sits, so that's been fun to avoid), a cutting on my left temple, & a scar revision just under my navel (one of my laparascopic tubal ligation cuts healed poorly, so samppa basically cut out the old scar tissue & sewed the new edges back together with his perfect sutures). i'll probably put up pics of the artistic cuttings once everything settles more - as of this posting, i'm in love with my divoted temple scar, but the shoulder piece still has a giant honkin' gross scab on the area that was flesh removal. yum!

& i'm pleased to note that my concert/show calendar is quite full. i love having all these great things to look forward to, especially since people in general are so reliably terrible. right! but look! :D

july: star trek marathon at the imax, modest mouse
august: flogging molly, yo la tengo, portland reptile expo
september: bumbershoot, atmosphere, the monkees
october: dinosaur jr, voracious food awards, christopher titus, face to face, failure (performing "fantastic planet" in its entirity!), puyallup reptile expo, whose live anyway? (loved this last year)
november: dylan moran, pansy division
december: hedwig & the angry inch (my third time going)
january: henry rollins spoken word (my 73493th time going)
march: red hot chili peppers, shaping sound (a dance show with travis wall, whom i adore)

beyond that, i'm thinking i'll probably take another trip this year, but i'm not sure where or when, so i'm keeping an eye out for groupon & livingsocial deals. i want more europe, so maybe i'll take a week in iceland or scotland or england... my last three trips had me speaking spanish (costa rica, argentina, & ecuador), so it'd be nice to go somewhere that english is widely used. anyone want to come with? :D

oh, & i might end up in LA again if i can't find a practitioner in washington for a thing i want to do. testing4l, be warned! :D

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Tuesday, July 12th, 2016
8:48 pm - ecuador & the galápagos trip 2016 - part 3: plaza, santa fe, punta pitt, quito, los angeles, seattle
Galápagos - West, Central and East Islands
part 1 | part 2 | part 3



Day 7 - June 17: Islas Plaza/Isla Santa Fe
South Plaza
Visit South Plaza, one of the smallest islands in the Galápagos, which has one of the largest populations of land iguanas. Walk along a path through a cactus forest and view a combination of dry and coastal vegetation on this lively island, home to a wide range of fauna, including incredible birdlife. Spot red-billed tropicbirds and indigenous swallow-tailed gulls resting on the cliffs, and sea lions playing in the waters.

Isla Santa Fe
Lace up your hiking boats to explore the island's flora and fauna. Trek toward the cliffs along the island's northern shore to see a forest of giant prickly pear cacti (Opuntia). See endemic land iguanas lounging in their favourite forest, and feasting on Opuntia pads and fruit.


i rolled out of bed at 7am for breakfast (cranberry-watermelon juice again, a favorite), then at 8 we disembarked for a dry landing at south plaza island. it looked like the noobs made us have our first rainy morning, but it dried up before we left the boat.

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Saturday, July 9th, 2016
1:12 pm - ecuador & the galápagos trip 2016 - part 2: chinese hat, rábida, egas, santiago, seymour, baltra
Galápagos - West, Central and East Islands
part 1 | part 2 | part 3



Day 4 - June 14: Chinese Hat/Isla Rábida
In the morning, the boat arrives at a small uniquely shaped island off the southern tip of Santiago called Chinese Hat. Here it is often possible to see Galápagos penguins, and the marine life is fantastic for snorkelling. There is also a large sea lion colony as well as many marine iguanas that can be seen while walking amongst the volcanic scenery. Trek to see good views of the island's volcano.

Isla Rábida
Arrive at a red sand beach at Rábida to explore its trails. A short trail leads to a saltwater lagoon; another trail goes past the lagoon to the interior, where the revered palo santo trees grow. (When burned, the branches of this tree give off a pleasing aroma and ward off mosquitoes.) Head back to the beach to see prehistoric-looking pelicans nesting among low-lying bushes - it's a rare treat to watch parent pelicans return with gullets full of fish for the squawking youngsters.


breakfast was scheduled for 7am & the first excursion at 8, but neither janet nor i needed an hour to eat, so we didn't roll out of bed until 7, which was great. we set off after eating to a little cove where birds were all over the place, diving for the huge swirling masses of sardines near the water's edge. i saw pelicans, great herons, several blue footed boobies, & tons of frigatebirds, plus sea lions eating big red fish (perhaps soldierfish), & blacktip sharks circling & driving the sardines inland. the zodiac then took us to chinese hat island. we made our way over the fine white sand to the lava rocks & tubes everywhere, & i made my favorite discovery - a tiny racer snake, also called the galápagos snake, who slipped out of view just after i finally got one clear photo of him. i only spotted him because i saw his tiny tail sliding under a rock, & recognized it as longer than a lava lizard's tail would be. so happy!

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Sunday, July 3rd, 2016
11:48 am - ecuador & the galápagos trip 2016 - part 1: seattle, quito, mosquera, isabela, puerto villamil
Galápagos - West, Central and East Islands
part 1 | part 2 | part 3



Day 0 - June 10: SEA to LAX to PTY
since my flight out wasn't until 6:30pm, i took my luggage to work with me & bossed until 3pm. aj was kind enough to truck my suitcase uphill to the light rail, & i made it to seatac without incident. that was the last smooth travel i'd experience getting to ecuador, though - the flight out of seattle was delayed an hour thanks to LAX air traffic; LAX was slammed & i had to stand forty minutes waiting for a boarding pass (which i then had to bully out of some highly incompetent woman at copa air) (& don't miss that they were filming a fucking reality show at my gate, so i had to deal with about thirty particularly gross-smelling backpackers with huge cameras & obnoxious attitudes); once i finally got on the copa flight to panama, we had to deboard thanks to a position light that needed maintenance; we boarded again an hour after THAT, which i knew would cause me to miss my connection to quito. yay!

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Tuesday, May 10th, 2016
6:13 pm - i'm alone forever, but i can buy toys
my old phone, a galaxy s4 mini, was taking forever to load anything, ran really hot & had to be recharged twice a day, & a bunch of apps i liked were starting to break down without proper support... so i bought an s7. this is the first time i've been at the cutting edge of cell technology, & it's weird. the first week was all about disabling the oddest notifications:

- "hey there's wifi here! *text message sound*"
- "hey it's 2am & your battery is fully charged! *text message sound*"
- "hey you have one minute until your alarm goes off! *text message sound*"
- "hey you opened your shopping list app! *text message sound*"
- "hey you opened the SETTINGS for your shopping list app! *text message sound*"
- plus one that i haven't sussed yet because it's not giving a notification with the tone, just "*text message sound*" out of nowhere. THANKS? (actually, i think i got it; it did not *text message sound* me at the end of the block today.)

for some reason it insists on using my default messaging tone as the default SYSTEM tone, instead of using the system tone i set... so each of those stupid notifications made me think someone was texting me. BUT NOPE, NO ONE LOVES ME. my favorite was the battery full notification, which for some utterly unknown reason was set as a PRIORITY notification, which meant it disobeyed the 'do not disturb' setting i use overnight... but wasn't even in the list of apps that 'do not disturb' allowed me to set as priority or not, so i had to wait for it to notify me & then long-press on the notification to THEN have the ability to shut it down. OKAY WHY

but on the upside, it's fast as fuck, i like being able to unlock it with a fingerprint, it charges quickly, discharges less quickly than the s4 (the battery still only lasts about a day, or only most of a day depending on usage, but i can work with that), can do slow-mo video (oh there will be a slow-mo montage of my snakes striking f/t prey - the s4 didn't support this), has functional apps (i can snapchat on mobile data now; no clue why it only worked on wifi before), & i've extended it with a 64gb micro SD card which will be delightful when i travel (in the past i've put extra movies on my netbook or 16gb pendrive, but i won't have to do any pendrive-to-netbook-to-phone jockeying mid-flight anymore).

no boy, next toy?!?! i'm considering an oculus rift or gear vr or whatever. why not immerse myself further in my absolute solitary confinement? anything that distracts me from my starving isolation in this world for a minute right?!?!?! YAY

!!!!!!!!!

yay

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Sunday, April 3rd, 2016
11:04 pm - argentina & antarctica trip 2016 - part 4: antarctica to argentina to seattle
Classic Antarctica Cruise
part 1 | part 2 | part 3 | part 4



Day 7 - March 10
first thing this morning, i found this amazing low cloud hanging outside the starboard windows. the thing was basically a stripe of cloud, practically eye-level. i rushed through a breakfast including waffles & scrambled eggs with very garlicky tomatoes (s'ok, i wouldn't be kissing anyone for another six days) so i could photograph it before it dissipated... but it hung around gloriously for the majority of our second continental landing, at brown station in paradise bay.

i was in the first two zodiacs - nice & dry, no snow today - so i went to the station first while everyone else took a zodiac cruise. brown is an old argentine station, & one of the biologists told us about a doctor who came here, had some "love issues", & ended up burning down one of the buildings. okay! we wandered about, & there was an uphill climb to a place where we were allowed to go sliding on our butts if we liked. as i'd done that the previous day, i sat in the snow & watched scenery & penguins for a while. Sit Down, Grandma came over & chatted with me. we talked about the costs of the trip, & though i thought she was giving me the "you got ripped off" side-eye, it turned out she paid nearly double my cost. granted she had a twin room instead of my triple, which would've been more expensive, but not even half again as much. apparently her travel agent in germany wasn't as great as mine in the states; sorry, SDG! it was a bit dicey walking back down, but as my ship-stock boots were several sizes too big, they actually helped me to stay upright.

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Tuesday, March 29th, 2016
10:28 pm - argentina & antarctica trip 2016 - part 3: antarctica
Classic Antarctica Cruise
part 1 | part 2 | part 3 | part 4



Day 4 to 8 - March 7-11: Exploring the Antarctic Peninsula and the South Shetland Islands
The South Shetland Islands are a haven for wildlife. Vast penguin rookeries, beaches ruled by Antarctic fur seals and Southern elephant seals make every day spent in this amazing island group unforgettable. Sailing through the narrow passage into the flooded caldera of Deception Island is truly amazing.

King George Island, the largest of the South Shetland Islands, features colonies of nesting Adélie and Chinstrap Penguins, Kelp Gulls, Blue-eyed Cormorants, Antarctic Terns and Southern Giant Petrels and is home to scientific bases of many different countries. Macaroni, Chinstrap and Gentoo Penguins as well as elephant seals await you at Livingston Island.

The Antarctic Peninsula’s remarkable history will provide you with a type of excitement often only associated with the early explorers. You will have plenty of time to explore its amazing scenery, a pristine wilderness of snow, ice, mountains and waterways, and an incredible wide variety of wildlife. Apart from penguins and seabirds you are very likely to see Weddell, crabeater and leopard seals as well as Minke, killer (orca) and humpback whales at close range.


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Wednesday, March 23rd, 2016
9:07 am - argentina & antarctica trip 2016 - part 2: argentina to antarctica
Classic Antarctica Cruise
part 1 | part 2 | part 3 | part 4



Day 1 - March 4: Depart from Ushuaia
Embark the USHUAIA in the afternoon and meet your expedition and lecture staff. After you have settled into your cabins we sail along the famous Beagle Channel and the scenic Mackinlay Pass.

finally my trip caught up with my itinerary. i had a lot of fun in the tiny bit of argentina i got to see, but the serious shit began today.

my window seat yielded some insane views of the martial mountains as we flew into ushuaia, & i tried to capture them with my phone. the airport's pretty small - one baggage claim, & it only took a minute or so to reach it. my bag was out quickly & i didn't have to go through customs since i was on a domestic flight.

i gleefully discovered that despite what i'd found online, the ushuaia malvinas airport DID have wifi. this was especially important because my ship didn't leave until 4pm, giving me about six hours to schlep my luggage around or buy a hotel room for an afternoon... & i had no desire to do either, especially the former on my horse-sore everything. i managed to find the one quiet, out-of-the-way spot that had wifi, a power outlet (with only a type I plug, making me happy i brought both adapters), *&* wasn't catching the breeze from outside. so i literally sat under a stairway for most of the day, heh. as time passed, i was joined somehow by three other women sitting around with camping gear. the only thing i camped was my power outlet. SORRY BITCHES, MY OUTLET MINE. XD

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Sunday, March 20th, 2016
7:36 pm - argentina & antarctica trip 2016 - part 1: seattle to buenos aires
Classic Antarctica Cruise
part 1 | part 2 | part 3 | part 4



day -3 - february 29: SEA to JFK to GRU
so this trip was really about antarctica; however, flights to the meeting point in ushuaia, at the southern tip of argentina, were ass, plus i had to pay a $160 "reciprocity fee" to get into argentina in the first place, so i said fuck it & decided to spend a few days tooling around buenos aires before the antarctic bit began. the three separate legs PLUS three nights at a hotel in buenos aires PLUS an extra overnight in ushuaia STILL cost less than going from seattle to ushuaia, & gave me a nice break from flying. but this day was all about flying.

i had a lovely sendoff dinner the night before with james, packed my bag perfectly, took a nap, then caught a ride to the airport. the 4am ride was surreal - it felt very "favorite sitcom's mid-season break" as i was driven past homey seattle landmarks i wouldn't be seeing for three weeks. due to spending nearly all of leap day traveling, it was decided that i thus earned my time lord badge. the seattle to new york leg was pretty nominal; i was through security quickly & ended up falling back asleep even before takeoff. at JFK airport, i snagged a surprisingly good corned beef sandwich at the brooklyn deli & didn't even try to resist buying a boston kreme dunkin donut. ah, nostalgia. my arrival & departure gates were two doors apart.

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Monday, February 22nd, 2016
7:17 pm - before the big icy
so yeah i booked a trip to the galápagos. :D i probably won't get to see the PINK IGUANAS as they're only in one tiny place and it would've cost me $1000 more to even get NEAR their area and NOT make landfall, but i'll surely see the marine & land iguanas that live out there, plus a million other animals. i got a great deal on the package, & even found a fantastic studio in ecuador for the Grammy Memorial Tattoo addition. it'll be interesting getting on another boat so soon after my antarctic trip, but i couldn't resist.

speaking of, i picked up these boots for antarctica. worn with wool socks & the silk longjohns i bought at REI, they should do a much better job of keeping my hooves warm than my docs would. i snagged a down jacket at goodwill for all of $20 (really didn't want to spend $300+ for an REI triclimate) & i'm also considering bringing my heated throw as there'll be an outlet in the room, but that'll depend mostly on storage space since i'm hoping to avoid checking luggage. i found a good tattoo studio in argentina, too, but the antarctica addition will wait until i'm back home since there isn't a shop in ushuaia.

it was a little sad finishing that big stack of concert/event tickets on my table - stomp was particularly good, as was the mythbusters live show - but i had a rush of new events pop up! so now i'm seeing the blue man group at the paramount in march, billy joel at safeco field in may, modest mouse at key arena in july, & the monkees on their 50th anniversary tour in september. :D violent femmes were just announced too, & i have every intention to grab those tickets. i ended up getting in on an amex pre-order for billy, & thus spent three times what i normally would on tickets - i've never been closer than nosebleed, but i had the opportunity to sit in section E on this map, & i took it. (i think only robinhoodvandal is jealous, but i don't care, i still love billy joel.) it's my second time seeing the monkees - i saw them waaaay back on my birthday in 1996 in illinois on their 30th anniversary tour - & i've seen the femmes probably a dozen times by now. i am old.

there's also something cool happening in april - national geographic international contacted me about using the footage i shot of little penguins in australia for a documentary they're doing on ultra-cute animals. so i'll be credited in that & receive a copy of the show, which i think is pretty rad.

my next update will be the antarctic travelogue! omg!

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Monday, January 18th, 2016
11:42 am - general update *salutes*
oh hi. i haven't posted a general update in a while since i wrote so much for costa rica, so here are things.

for halloween, i went as budget medusa. i'll turn you into cardboard & bits of rock. pic includes my little blonde bangs dreads. :)


speaking of snakes, i have a lot to share about snakes.Collapse )

in non-snake news, my awesome VP bought my boss & i raspberry pis for xmas, & i turned mine into a retropie. i have literally over seven thousand roms that can now be played on my tv. also tech-related, my netbook had broken in costa rica, but one of my employees used to work for dell & was able to bring it back to life with a $15 replacement motherboard. life is good.

i finished the painting i've been working on to go over my bedroom door. it's my first time working with textured medium, & it was a lot of fun. the font is kingthings spikeless for those interested, & i freehanded it on.


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upcoming fun: i'm throwing a movie night to watch "2001: a space odyssey" & "sneakers", neither of which i've seen; another movie night i'm calling "immoral support" to watch either "salò" or "a serbian film" (which i feel i should see since i'm into films, but neither of which i want to watch alone, hence the support); seeing stomp; seeing wussy (haven't heard their music, but they're what's left of the ass ponys, so why not!); hosting snake party 2.0; & probably another movie night for "close encounters of the third kind" which i've ALSO not seen... though i'm not sure if those last two will make it onto the books before i leave for argentina & antarctica. & my second trip this year maaaaay be out to the galápagos, 'cause the company taking me to antarctica is offering me a pretty nice deal...

i think that's it for now. oh, also i tacked on a quick update to the end of my costa rica travellogue. be prepared to aww.

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Wednesday, December 9th, 2015
9:54 pm - costa rica trip 2015 - part 3
ESSENTIAL COSTA RICA TOUR - 8 DAYS
part 1 | part 2 | part 3



Day 7 - Sat Nov 21 - Villas Playa Sámara

i woke up totally unable to put weight on my leg - it felt like the giant bruise growing all along the inside of my calf was going to explode, & i couldn't even hop around since that would jar the stitches. i guessed i overdid it yesterday, bleh. aj proactively fetched a hotel wheelchair while i tried to get dressed, & Sexy Cheekbones gave me all kinds of extra attention at breakfast, haha.

the hotel let us borrow the wheelchair for the day, & aj tried to carefully drive me over the potholes on the road to the main street. we successfully boarded the bus to nicoya going the opposite way from what the security guard at the gate had said... fortunately, we discovered later that the bus just turns around about five minutes down the road. the bus system in costa rica was pretty awesome - seemed to be just dudes who bought buses & therefore become bus drivers. everyone seemed to know our driver, & we counted five silver mudflap girls pasted in various parts of his front window. it was really cheap to ride - the hour trip to nicoya was only around $2 each.

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Saturday, December 5th, 2015
10:44 pm - costa rica trip 2015 - part 2
ESSENTIAL COSTA RICA TOUR - 8 DAYS
part 1 | part 2 | part 3



Day 4 - Wed Nov 18 - Transfer to Palo Verde National Park
Hotel El Establo offers an exquisite breakfast and right after this Palo Verde National Park is your next destination. Here you will get the opportunity to embark on a boat safari tour and get a close up view of crocodiles, monkeys and hundreds of different species of birds and reptiles. After this adventure you will be visiting the cultural pottery town of Guaitil and learn about the Costa Rican traditions and culture while observing how pottery has been made for centuries. You will also acquire knowledge about historical facts of Costa Rica. Afterwards you will make a quick stop to visit the oldest church of Costa Rica, built in 1644 in Nicoya. After a short drive from Nicoya to Playa Sámara you will then arrive at the Hotel Villas Playa Sámara for the rest of your trip.

i woke early & used the hotel hair dryer on my jeans until they were dry enough to wear, then took some panoramas of the morning view on our back porch. aj heard animals screaming in the jungle last night - he said it started with just one, then everything in the place was shrieking - but i completely slept through it. i wished we were staying here another night. at breakfast, accompanied by oddly rave-like music, we enjoyed cassava pancakes, plántanos, more awesome pineapple... & jalapeño poppers. okay, costa rica, breakfast rave with jalapeño poppers - no problem.

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Thursday, December 3rd, 2015
9:35 pm - costa rica trip 2015 - part 1
ESSENTIAL COSTA RICA TOUR - 8 DAYS
part 1 | part 2 | part 3



The eight day Costa Rica Monkey Tour package includes airport shuttle transfers, transportation between tour attractions, lodging in some of the best hotel options in the country such as The Hilton Garden Inn, El Establo Resort, Hacienda Guachipelin or Hotel Borinquen and Hotel Villas Playa Sámara. In addition to that, your tour will include any entrance fees that may be charged at various attractions and activities, as well as accompaniment by our fully bilingual guides and a great photographer. (thankfully no photographer! -l)

Day 1 - Sun Nov 15 - Arrival in Costa Rica via Guanacaste (LIR) Airport
Welcome to Costa Rica! Get ready to explore Guanacaste and enjoy all the eco-diversity Costa Rica has for you! You will land at the Liberia International Airport where a shuttle service from the Hilton will meet you and take you to your first night's stay at The Hilton Garden Inn where you will rest, relax and prepare for your upcoming adventure. You will surely enjoy the amazing sleep systems (ergonomically designed beds) they offer for the perfect rest!

You can decide to stay at the Hotel or explore the town of Liberia by taking a taxi or a bus. You can request more information in this regard at the front desk.


so this was supposed to be (hey, foreshadowing!) our extra day. aj & i signed up for a tour that met up on tuesday morning, with all participants flying in monday & staying overnight at the hilton garden inn. but when i was searching flights, it cost hundreds more to fly in monday OR take a redeye to arrive monday than it did to fly in sunday AND book an extra night at the hilton. so we did!

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Monday, October 26th, 2015
9:38 pm - a very spendy post
so i had to bail on the custom tank that was being built for vasuki, because the guy doing it turned out to be incompetent. (it's a mess, don't ask.) but i got a great ~37gal tank AND stand for xiuhcoatl, & i picked up a 40gal for vasuki from bridges (it was fun driving it home in my miata -_-) & had a stand shipped from petco. i won some surprise bargains with each piece - xi's setup was just $70 from a girl who was moving & desperate to sell, vasuki's $99 tank had a $15 rebate coupon inside, & his $170 petco stand was marked down to $118 plus 25% off for no reason AND free shipping, making it under a hundred bucks. so housing has worked out pretty nicely for me & my longdogs. i'll post pics when i have their hides made up nicely.

i did indeed purchase a very sexy handgun, a S&W .357 magnum 686+ (7 rounds) with a 4" barrel. it's this guy, the same one i used on the range (though the range rental had a 6" barrel) to make my front door art. (the hole through the lung is what i call "the warning shot".) i bought a couple boxes of soft points for it, one to keep at home & one to spend on the range to get a feel for them. soft points (& hollow points) expand upon impact, so they're more likely to stop an attacker *&* not go through my apartment walls. first time at the range, i did this with it at 21':


yes helo, i am riggs.

tickets for argentina/antarctica are booked too. final plan: i'm spending three days in buenos aires, hopping down to ushuaia on the same day the boat leaves, then a couple days on the boat, 5 days on antarctica & the south shetland islands, two days back to ushuaia, an overnight there, & it'll take about a day & a half to get home. my previous post estimated it'd be a hundred bucks more to do multiple flights... but by buying three one-way tickets & visiting buenos aires, instead of heading right to ushuaia, & including the deal i got on a centrally located hotel in BA, i actually SAVED a hundred bucks on the trip. :D

considering what i'm spending on the whole affair, i opted to spend another $390 & fully insure the entire trip. $150 or something of that is required for the cruise anyhow, but now i would be completely refunded for everything i've spent even if i broke my leg on the way out the front door & couldn't go on ANY of it. the insurance pays out for late flights, missed connections, baggage delays, accidents & illness, & it has a million bucks of coverage for emergency medical evac, oh my. i am the safest lish. ...or the most insured one, anyhow.

i may be alone in the universe, but at least i make some fucking cool shit in my life. the next update will likely be my costa rica travelogue.

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Tuesday, October 20th, 2015
7:15 pm - meet xiuhcoatl
well, i'm up to three pets now. but i learned a valuable lesson: don't hold reptiles at a reptile convention that i'm not 100% sure i want to take home, 'cause my big stupid heart is an idiot. <@_@3

aaanyhow, so i went to the seattle reptile expo with aj, daria, & daniel - the now-usual suspects. we all just wanted to look at everything & maybe hold some things & go home content. none of the four of us were going to buy a new animal... only half of us were successful in that. X)

i was fine until i found paul's booth with west coast captive breeders. he had two leopard morph sonoran boas, breeders that he was letting go of to pursue new projects. the female was beautiful, but i was driven directly to the big male. he was marked at $500, half the price of the female, & his iridophores were beaming rainbows despite being currently in shed.

they let me take him out, & he immediately wrapped around my shoulders & started pushing his snoot at me - all straight-necked & friendly, just like vasuki did. oh my stupid heart. he'd been out about fifteen minutes before he put his head in my hand & fell asleep. james had shown up at that point, & suddenly i had FOUR people standing around me telling me to buy the snake. it was pretty brutal to give him back, & i hard-pouted all the way back to daniel's car while considering & reconsidering where i'd fit a second snake habitat in my apartment. daria let me hold her beautiful new killer bee morph baby ball python on the drive home, but it didn't help.

i always told myself that i'd only get a second snake if i found an IMG boa at a decent price - IMG stands for increasing melanin gene, & it eventually results in an all-black snake with extreme iridescence. they're usually a few thousand dollars, which is about six times what i'd want to spend on a pet. but the leopard gene can also produce very dark boas, & this one was obviously awash in rainbows. usually leopards are also pretty pricey - the ones i could find for sale online were over a grand, & most of them were only het for the gene, & not even visibly leopard!

i spent the next day painting & watching movies, trying to forget that beautiful snake, but it didn't work. it also didn't help that james had posted a couple pictures of us from the expo, with the caption "Went to a reptile expo. Fell in love with a $500 leopard boa. Except he fell in love with Lish and her with him. I hope she finds space for him in her life." GRR. i had taken paul's business card, & a few hours before the expo ended, i texted him to see if the snake was still available. he was, & i got paul to come down on price a bit. i had to decide by 3pm, as it takes an hour to drive to puyallup & the expo closed at 4. i finally decided i could move my dvd case into the bedroom & put a second setup there; the beauty of this snake combined with his super-cool personality (snakeality? herpetality?) pushed me over the edge. at 2:47pm i called paul & offered $400 cash. he paused dramatically, then agreed, & i practically flew there in my miata.

i got to the expo & beelined to WCCB's booth, & there he was - freshly shed, looking glorious. i took him out & started asking the breeder about him when he - the snake, not the breeder - stuck his face in my mouth. i was literally mid-sentence & my lips hit snake. i burst into surprised laughter - yes dear, i'm happy i'm taking you home too! i was just glad my teeth were mostly together when he did it, haha. paul gave me some backstory on him too - the leopard morph was first discovered by hans winner in germany (which i knew), & this snake is first generation from hans's snakes, produced by paul. he was born probably in august 2009 & has been a good breeder, friendly & not so hissy as sonorans tend to be.

james decided to drive back & meet me there for no particular reason, & got to carry several pounds of snake around while i scrambled to buy another heat lamp & ceramic bulb & a couple extra large rats to tide me over before my upcoming run to chessie for a feeder restock. (delightfully, chessie was at the expo & had two XLs left, so i didn't have to worry about rat quality. :) ) i drove home carefully with the new snoot pushing his way around a pillowcase on my lap.

i had to come up with a great name for him, & wanted to keep the theme of reptile gods - vasuki is named for the king of the indian nāgas & shiva the destroyer's pet snake; sobek is named for the crocodile-headed egyptian god of power & protection. i considered some chinese dragon god names, but ended up with an aztec name since he's a full sonoran boa: xiuhcoatl, the "fire serpent", the spirit form of the aztec fire god. xiuhcoatl also guided tonatiuh, the sun god, across the sky, & acted as a weapon against the stars & moon. i couldn't find a better name that carries all his rainbows. ^_^ pronunciation, as close as i understand it to the native language, is shy-wha-ko-AH-tul - so he'll be xiuh ("SHY-wha") or just xi for short.

he hung out with me for hours while i worked facebook reptile communities & craigslist for a temp tank until i can have a proper side-opening enclosure built. i didn't find one i could buy that night, & ended up punching air holes in a big plastic storage container that i had as the backup plan. i gave him a big bowl of water & some aspen bedding, then put a couple gallon jugs of water on top & shut him in the bathroom, just in case. he was fine in the morning, his snoot already up & interested when i checked on him. i found a tank & stand that evening & set him up properly; he explored around for ten minutes, relaxed into a pile, then politely took an XL rat. it's pretty amazing watching him eat - i've never fed larger than the small rats vasuki is currently enjoying.

i know you want pics. starting with the shot james took at the expo, when i thought i had to say goodbye:


all the rainbowsCollapse )

so welcome home, xiuhcoatl, my beautiful fire serpent.

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Saturday, October 3rd, 2015
5:36 pm - reptiles & travel, mostly
things i learned from handling sobek for the first time since the convention:
- it is his favorite thing to leap onto my chest & dash into my dreads.
- it is his second favorite thing to climb my dreads like they're vines.
- this lizard is going to kill me of cute. please look at the pup curled into a rabbit's foot fern. dying, i tellya.


more pics of sobekCollapse )

the snek report:

vasuki has taken to resting his head in my palm, all on his own. when he relaxes his muscles & his weight is in my hand, i feel trusted. just after this pic, he looked up a bit, yawned big against my hand, & settled back down to nap. my cold dead heart is exploding over this most wonderful creature.

but wait, it gets worse: i was going to leave him in my computer chair while i made some dinner. i stood up to go, & he slithered directly over to my hand, sniffed it, & looked up at me. i told him to hurry up if he wanted to go with me. he started climbing my wrist! he was struggling after a third of himself (had a small rat the day previous), so i picked him up & tossed him over my shoulder where he quietly sat while i oh-so carefully used the stove. now who's claiming that reptiles don't show affection? :)

it is also important that you see vasuki pretending to be a cobra. or the loch ness monster!Collapse )

in other news, i'm officially headed to costa rica in november! this groupon came up & looked like the most fun - it has a zipline tour, horseback riding, skybridges, tubing, & a waterfall tour already built in, plus lots of time to do whatever else we want. my friend (& employee) aj is going with me & it's going to be awesome - i'll be there for my birthday! :D (i had wanted to get to south america proper, but i needed a more "fun" trip this year, & so it'll be central america for now.) we're also adding an extra day - flying out on monday OR taking a redeye to arrive early monday each cost hundreds more than flying out sunday AND adding a night at the hotel, woo! so y'all can expect another travelogue in november or december this year, & i already have an artist lined up for the grammy memorial tattoo addition. X)

& uh... i've also put a deposit on the trip after that one. in march 2016, i'm going to... antarctica. OMG. there's no groupon on this one, no discount rate - but i did snag the last of the women's triple cabin spots which is the cheapest price i've found. check out the itinerary. on this boat, we make land more than most others, & since it's a smaller number of people, we all get to go to ground each docking. (there's a 100-person limit on who can touch the landmass at a time!) yeah it's going to be uncomfortable & i'll be freezing & miserable for probably the entire trip, but holy shit, i'll get to see & tromp around on antarctica while it still exists. i have so many silk underlayers to buy... hey, can -71F really feel that much colder than 0F anyhow? HA my planning papers say that antarctic summer is only 20-40F. i can totally live through that! :D

AND since flights from seattle to ushuaia (a city at the tip of argentina, where we board the boat - pronounced oohs-why-uh) are shitty, PLUS i had to pay a $160 "reciprocity fee" (basically a visa) to get into argentina... why not make use of that & see a bit of the country, make it worth a tattoo, plus properly hit all seven continents. so i'm probably going to book three separate flights instead of one roundtrip, & stay in buenos aires for a few days before hitting the big icy. right now, it's only about a hundred bucks more to do the multiple flights thing... wow. this is so happening. :D :D :D

beyond that, i'm working on a new canvas for above my bedroom door, using blended fiber texture gel for the first time. it's great fun glopping it on. & i painted a couple of shirts, too. i may post pics if i can be bothered. oh, & i think i'm going to support the likely-upcoming stringent weaponry laws by buying a second handgun tomorrow. :P

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Sunday, August 30th, 2015
5:56 pm - meet sobek
casa de lish now contains TWO pets!

the portland reptile expo came around a second time this year. wearing my lizard plugs & my homemade toa much kise shirt, i drove down with daria, daniel, & aj. we all had acquisition goals this trip - daria & daniel to buy a giant lizard of some sort, aj to outfit his high-humidity vivarium (that he built inline with mine) with some cobalt dart frogs & maybe a couple mourning geckos, & obviously i've been preparing for a crested gecko. ideally i wanted a young lizard but not a hatchling (since my vivarium is too big for a hatchling & it might not be able to find the food), with a tail (they can drop them like most lizards, but don't regenerate a lost tail; the tailless ones are referred to as 'frogbutt'), & i was looking for female because males tend to be all, "yo, here are my balls! *shoves them against glass* LOOK AT THEM." classy.

we got to the expo early, & i did a fast lap around the entire floor to scope out the cresteds on offer. most were various shades of tan, yellow, orange, & brown; i best liked the white/cream/"moonglow"/whatever cresteds (wow), but i didn't realize how set on one i was until i tried to find a gecko to buy. prices ranged from $20 to $250; i suspected the one i wanted would be even more expensive in its rarity, but i didn't want to plunk down $300 or more for a lizard. i saw a few female whitish cresteds, & went back to a couple tables several times, but they just weren't exciting me. by this point, daria & daniel had found their lizard, a young black-throated monitor (more on that later), & i'd helped aj find three beautiful dart frogs. i was starting to think i'd be the only one not bringing home a new pet.

then aj asked if i saw rain city geckos's booth. i hadn't; nearly their entire table was leopard geckos, so i must just've missed that they had a couple cresteds. i stepped over, & saw him. he was older & male, but a perfect creamy white with black spots - termed "dalmatian" - & a healthy tail. the owner chris let me take him out to handle - he was friendly & alert, & immediately i went back on the other preferences i had. a fully-grown gecko won't get lost in the tank, won't be so flighty or need to be hand-tamed, is unlikely to have tail problems ("floppy tail syndrome" is a thing)... yeah, he'll probably shove his balls in my face, but i wouldn't have to worry about egg retention or pay SO much attention to calcium levels as i would with a female. & since he was older, the price tag was just $60. DONE.

i had his name picked out from my egypt trip - sobek is the egyptian crocodile god & is associated with protection, & i knew it'd be a perfect match to vasuki's etymology; i was so glad to find a gecko that suited the name.

we spent another hour walking the expo calmly, checking out all the gorgeous & rare animals. there was a satanic leaf-tailed gecko (awesome), & a ton of boas this time, but none i would've wanted more than vasuki. (i promised myself i'd only buy a second snake if it were an IMG/azabache boa, which are usually several thousand dollars.) i spotted the mourning geckos aj wanted, & he bought two. they're pretty cool - they're parthenogenetic & live in lesbian colonies & scissor each other to stimulate egg production. (no, really!)

after the expo, daniel bought a large rubbermaid container for their monitor lizard, since it was a long drive back to seattle & the pillowcase she was sold in wasn't too comfortable. (this is a baby lizard that's about a foot long in the body, plus another foot of tail, & will grow to be 5' long & 60 pounds - no small beast.) then we went off to another spot i'd found for us - about twenty minutes away was a reptile-centric pet store with a big venomous zoo. it's no use linking to their site, as they're going out of business... but after we checked out all the beautiful dangernoodles in the venomous room, we got a huge surprise - i discovered that all animals & new equipment in the store were half off. aj had played with a fully-grown rainbow boa (aka glitternoodle) at the convention & fell in love with its beauty & uncharacteristically calm demeanor, but couldn't spend $400 on him... & the shop had a young rainboa for $250 $125, plus the full 10gal tank setup they were using for $40. the snake was heavily in blue, meaning she was going to shed soon & would probably be snippier than usual, but was super chill & friendly. aj was sold in a second, & i mocked him for going from zero pets to six pets in the span of a few hours. X) at my suggestion, he also took home the larger tank he'd eventually need for her, for $35 instead of $70. amazing. daria & daniel also got the rest of what they'd need for their monitor lizard & saved a ton.

we went outside & packed the car with new purchases, & drove a few minutes away to the pie house we'd passed on the way. daniel wanted to post some pics of their new lizard, & opened up the plastic drawer... to find no lizard. there was a cut-out handle in the drawer, & she must have stuffed herself through it to escape. we searched the car frantically, but couldn't find her. we drove back to the reptile shop & searched the underbrush & trees in the area, but couldn't find her. it was heartbreaking to immediately lose such a sweet lizard that they'd expected to have for decades. i thought she was still in the car - how could we have missed 2' of lizard jumping out of the vehicle while packing it? - but i sure couldn't find her.

downtrodden, we stopped for food & ate in the car. daria was exceedingly upset, & she & daniel got out to hug & cry. aj & i sat in the back, talking quietly about our purchases... & i heard a scraping. that was DEFINITELY the sound of a lizard claw in the dashboard, i'd bet anything. i banged on the window & yelled that THERE IS STILL A LIZARD IN THIS CAR. we couldn't see her, & though aj had also heard scraping, we still had no proof. slightly less downtrodden but not willing to risk their hearts, daria & daniel got back in & we drove to a gas station to fill up & try to flush her out.

on the way, daria had the idea to take a video up under the passenger dashboard... & finally we had proof. the video showed a monitor eye & one big foot, & the whole mood of the front seat changed. we tried to lure her out with food, but she wouldn't come on her own, & was clearly getting stressed. we could see her back behind an air compressor or something; daniel tried to get under the dash, but couldn't reach her - as the smallest in the group, i volunteered. after we removed what we could of the dashboard - the glove box & air vent - i found myself upside down in the footwell with one hand very carefully on her tail & the other at her ribcage, urging her to come out. she stuck her face out at me & i couldn't stop laughing; i took an amazing picture, but realized she wouldn't fit to go forward, & i couldn't keep a hold of her if she backed out. i got her to back up & turn around, but then she was well out of reach. we decided to finish the drive back to seattle, & would just let her de-stress & relax & keep offering food. she got up there on her own; she'd come out when she got hungry enough.

i went home, mixed up some food for sobek, put him in his new home, & went to bed. i was quite happy to wake the next morning to a text from daniel that they got her out safely (the best comment on daniel's twitter was, "oh, you uninstalled your in-dash monitor") & were ready to come pick up the 75gal tank i'd sold them to make room for vasuki's custom enclosure, currently being built.

so THAT was dramatic! & now you deserve pictures. :) here's sobek on the way home from the expo:


more!Collapse )

so big welcome home to sobek! & feel free to add crank1923 on snapchat if you want to see a shitton more of him & vasuki. *nods*

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Thursday, August 13th, 2015
10:34 am
spent-a-bunch-of-money update
i bought a fancy new mattress, a beautyrest black whitten pillowtop plush in queen. (wow, mattresses have stupid names.) the last one was a queen pillowtop, also beautyrest, that i picked up for $400. (the amusing bit i never noted was that i paid for that last mattress with a diamond tennis bracelet that i found on the ground after i had jury duty. no one reported it missing, & zales confirmed it was one of theirs, so i sold it on ebay & turned it into a mattress. :D) i thought it was pretty amazing at the time compared to the hand-me-down free mattresses i'd used before, but this thing blows that thing away. soooo squishy & supportive & air-cooled & some other bullshit too. i also sprung (har, mattress puns; my bed is bedder than yours) for the bedbug-proof, dustmite-proof, liquid-proof, zip-on slipcover thing with the extra make-a-stain-get-a-free-replacement-mattress guarantee, so it should stay perfect forever... or at least until ten years have passed & mattress technology has again progressed enough to tempt me.

amusingly, i did not buy a new mattress from the guy at sleep county or whatever who looked me up & down & suggested a clearance mattress. buddy, i'm in your shop laying on your most expensive floor model & telling you the things i don't like about it, none of which regard the price - perhaps your works-on-commission ass should save the judgments. i called him out on it with some eyebrow-raised derision & told him i don't need clearance or financing & am ready to buy today, but perhaps not at his store. he blanched & apologized & it was all very entertaining. yes, judge me more by my scuffed-up docs & bright red dreadlocks, & i will teach you a lesson about how to pay your rent. :D

spent-a-bunch-of-money update 2
well, spending anyhow - i think i found a guy from whom i can commission vasuki's new custom tank, which is more & more necessary every day. speaking of...

vasuki update
he's 4' long now & super adorable. he shed again yesterday & is growing so quickly! click for videos!Collapse )

vivarium update
the awesome etsy chick who sold me the slate pieces for my little path published my tank on her blog. i thought that was awesome. :)

new vivarium update
the new 12x12x18" has been planted & set up at my office, & my employees love it. however, four of the plants (both pileas, the rainbow spike moss, & one of the tillandsias) got too crunchy when fedex took an extra day to deliver & they didn't recover. neherp replaced them with a fury, plus ten various tillandsias for the trouble. more details and pics!Collapse )

calendar update
august
  • yay, failure is coming back again! i'm so ready for another dose.

    current status
    headed out to nick's stupid wedding soon, but way more excited about buying a crested gecko at the reptile expo. the plants in my home viv have established plenty well to see what happens when a tiny sticky-toed intruder tries to alternately destroy & poop on everything. :D
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    Thursday, July 2nd, 2015
    1:45 pm
    i finished the vivarium! well, at least as much as a bioactive live vivarium can be "finished", since it'll change itself over time. but everything's now done & in place to start cycling & become a good home for a crested gecko. since the last list, i changed the lighting, then bought a few more plants (nixed the spanish moss because i couldn't tolerate its scent), more cork (returned the fake vine), & an additional magnetic piece (returned the stick-on canopy cave; the magnetic hide is superior).

    here's the tank finished:




    would you like to see progress pics?Collapse )

    so yeah, that's pretty awesome. & then my lace flower bloomed. :D i'm so pleased it's doing plant stuff! i must be doing it right or it wouldn't expend its energy in making flowers, right?

    & now that that's done... i bought another terrarium to keep at work. -_- that one will be plants only, at 12x12x18", a third the size of the 18x18x24" at home. i've just found the big tank so damned calming to look at, & i thought my employees might enjoy a little spot of nature brought into the department. it's also a lot cheaper to set up a small vivarium - the whole project, with light though without a stand or heating, will only be about $150. i'll post pics when it's finished, though procedurals probably won't be necessary, heh.

    other excitement: i have acquired one of shannon larratt's original skull rings, in a much smaller size than i bought for my ex (back when shannon was still alive). though i don't know if i'll wear it, it does actually fit! i never thought i'd have one for myself, but my friend lana (the one i got to meet when i was in melbourne) was considering selling hers & kindly let me snatch it up for a very reasonable price. it has dumb gem eyes, but aside from that, i totally love it. it's nice to be close to a piece of shannon again. (amusingly, i ran some high-end rare jewelry auctions at the same time, & my profit from those paid for the ring. ^_^ )

    i backed a softer world's kickstarter. i'm super sad the strip is over, but at least my name will be in their book. as it is in others... X)

    in crazy news, this happened. i was there exactly a month before this incident, in the very temple that was bombed. i spent several hours there. wild.

    & finally, wonderful things added to the event calendar:
  • august: modest mouse is back again! i found out randomly & snagged tickets for both nights. so glad i won't have to risk resale on craigslist like last time. (it worked out for me, but one of my employees recently bought a fake ticket to paradiso that he didn't discover to be fake until after he made the 2.5h drive to the gorge. ugh.)
  • november: an acoustic evening with yo la tengo! that's going to be lovely.

    travel planning is still focused on costa rica, but i'll admit the trip i'm more excited for right now is to portland for gecko. *nods* ok ttyl
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