December 2005 Archives

Suicidal Tetra

Besides travel and Alias, I've had a number of other things taking up my time. One of those things is fishkeeping. A while back, a sister called announcing babies. Lots and lots of babies; 26 if I remember correctly. They weren't directly hers though. They were Dalmation Mollies. I took 5 of them and bought a 5-gallon aquarium starter kit and supplies and found a new way to spend money. I was wanting to add a little bit of color to the tank, so I added a very pretty Red-minor Tetra, though this Google image doesn't do justice.Anyway, the fish has never been accused of being too intelligent and is a little too passive. He also doesn't like the tropical fish food I put in the tank (the Mollies can't eat enough). So he's been starving himself and has some odd behavior. I bought some freeze-dried blood worms and it turns out the Tetra actually likes those and even gives the Mollies a run for their money when he feels up to it. But yesterday, he wasn't eating anything again, so I got the bright idea to put him in a Tupperware-like container yesterday, with lots of bloodworms. At first, he just stayed at the bottom and wouldn't eat the worms. I went and watched an episode of Alias and came back to see if he had eaten. The first thing I noticed was that he wasn't in the container. I wasn't alarmed - I just figured my brother had put it back in the main tank and I asked him that. He replied in the negative, so I started to think. I looked down on the carpet and didn't see anything and then looked on the ledge where the tank and temporary container are. There I saw a small lifeless body of a Tetra. I didn't know what to think, but I quickly scooped him back into the container and after a second, he came to life. I stood there amazed for a while. He would have had to jump 3+ inches to get out and this guy doesn't even like to go near the surface. He's as acrobatic as a slug. I was dumbfounded.Anyway, deciding he didn't like that container, I dumped him back into the tank, and watched him. He would twitch and then sink a bit and so on and so forth. He seemed a little better today, but I'm giving him two days to live. Maybe he'll surprise me. Maybe he'll convince me to buy a bigger tank and bring some more Tetras over (not planning on it until my new house is ready in April). At any rate, don't underestimate the desperation of a fish.


It's amazing how quickly a month and a half goes by. All that work into a new site and I leave it hanging like a piece of lint on the back of your pants. Or something like that - my similes are a little weak today. But anyway, I've been doing some traveling for work, and I kept thinking of things to say, but had no time or Internet access. Then it was just time and effort to say everything I wanted to say. Now, I've forgotten most of what I had to say so I'm just going to put something up.I got back from a 2 week trip to Germany and France last Thursday. The first week of that was planned, though at the last minute. In that first week, I had 8 flights and a 4-5 hr road trip (going up to 140 mph!). I was asked to extend another week to help with a customer, and ended up being by myself most of that week in France (Je ne parle pas Frances). I said that phrase A LOT. In fact, I don't speak French or German, but it looks like I'll have a little time to practice.Anyway, I first went to a town in the South-Southwest of France right by the Pyrenees. It was quite scenic there with rolling plains of green breaking halfway to the horizon to grandiose, snowcapped mountains. I was only there a couple days and didn't get to see much, but I liked it. I then went to the Dresden, Germany area, which was itself very green (and it was cold!). In fact, it looked like crops were budding in the snow all around - winter wheat or something. There were also those modern windmills everywhere. Apparently, that is a source of controversy as the Green party shut down their nuclear plants and erected these windmills (with much of the former West Germany's money), but these windmills are often idle. Apparently there are still quite a few integration problems there and the East German economy is struggling. It was also here in Germany I realized everyone smokes. One night we had dinner in a windowless cellar, full of smoke. I regrettably probably got a pack or two of secondhand. Yuck!But from the Dresden/Leipzig area, we drove to Munich. I used to think years ago that the Autobahn was a specific highway, but most highways over there have no speed limit it seems. There were four of us piled into a little rental Mercedes 100 series, but we still managed to get up to a speedy 220 Km per hour with power to spare.From Munich, I was to fly home, but was asked to go down to Toulouse, also in Southern France for about a week. That became more "interesting" than planned when I was picked up and told that the person I was going to work with (and have him be my translator) had to be elsewhere that following week, so I was alone in France, not speaking French, and not knowing where the customer was (the cab driver didn't either and didn't speak English). But I survived. The place I was working at was nice enough to have two cute girls drop me off and pick me up by my hotel. Fortunately, many of the French speak some English, but I still don't speak much French.So there's the brief agenda of my trip (I leave again on Dec. 29, this time for about 23 days and I fly in to Barcelona). I wanted to list a few of the pros/cons of life over there that I observed.


  • Many people speak some English
  • Most were quite friendly
  • Great food (with one exception)
  • Lots of good-looking girls (with a major flaw)
  • Everyone is slender (I saw maybe 1% what I would call heavy)
  • Quaint little streets and shops everywhere in Toulouse
  • Chocolate. It's everywhere

  • The flaw: Everyone smokes (in restaurants too) except for a small minority
  • The food exception: Steak. I've been told they have good steak there, and maybe I'm weird, but I don't think I had it.
  • The language - French is tough for me - especially the accent/pronunciation.

I have to say that overall, I did enjoy my trip there.


  • Again, lots of cuties, though not as many as France in my mind
  • No obesity, though many are a little heavier than the French
  • Great food (Bratwurst w/ spicy mustard == yummy)
  • Again, lots of chocolate.
  • People very friendly
  • Beautiful scenery
  • Not as many English speakers, but still quite a few

  • The smoking
  • Other than that, there weren't many that come to mind

I liked Germany.Now, I know there are many political and societal problems in these countries. Both are going through pension crises and France is rife with demonstrations and strikes. But my short time was enjoyable.

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