Tuesday, October 5 2021

the hobby closet, home movies, and turkish roaches



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Dear Journal,

Good morning, everybody. Happy Tuesday. I'm thinking it's time for another journal entry - what do you think?

Somebody at work mentioned that the long break I took from writing over my birthday weekend made them concerned. "I saw you didn't post an entry and I was wondering if you were alive," he wrote.

That makes me laugh. That reminds me of a monitoring technique we use at work called "the heartbeat". We ensure servers do what they're supposed to do is by instrumenting them to check-in to a central monitoring service when they are finished with their job, and when the endless series of regular "heart beats" stop, we fire an alert. In keeping an internet journal, I have inadvertently created my own type of social heartbeat monitor. When I miss a journal, people start asking questions and charitably wonder if I'm still alive.

Well I'm pleased to report that I am still alive, thanks to this cup of coffee.

Sip. Do you have your coffee with you? How does it taste today? How is your week going?

It feels good to be back in a working cadence. My body is finally deflating after a weekend of birthday junk food debauchery, and I feel grateful that soup season is upon us. I didn't realize how much I missed cooking soup until the temperature began to dip into the low seventies. Soup is so simple, so healthy, so fulfilling, and a great excuse to eat as much bread as you feel like. Yesterday we made leek and potato, and I fried some chunks of old bread in pancetta fat, which made for some pretty delicious croutons. Later this week, Marissa is going to treat us to her take on Minnesota's greatest contribution to American soup culture, Chicken Wild Rice. And while I write this, there is a pork shoulder bone sitting in our freezer that I've mentally tagged for the next time we make pea soup. Fellow midwesterners, I've got a fever... and the only cure is more soup.

In other news, Marissa and I are on a small cleaning kick. Our most recent organization epiphany hit us both like a lightning bolt. We've set out to combine our clothes closets and repurpose my cramped, poorly lit bedroom closet into a hobby closet.

What belongs in a "hobby closet"? Maybe cable wraps, dongles, and our giant spool of cat5 cable. Maybe our heavy bag of fish tank salt or Marissa's elaborate water testing kit. No doubt, compressed bricks of tarantula substrate, feeding tongs, and plastic catch cups. Pretty much anything can go in there if it fits. That's the beauty of the "hobby closet" - it's the same concept as the kitchen junk drawer, only applied to an entire closet.

So in preparation our big closet switch, I'm going through my things. But nostalgia keeps slowing my momentum. This past Sunday while going through some of my bins, I stumbled into my own home movie archive.

When I was in eighth grade, my parents bought me a Sony Handycam. And so from then on I began to produce my own line of family movies on miniature digital cassettes, and honestly they've aged pretty well. As a quiet eight grader, I amused myself at family holidays by interviewing people, asking aunts, uncles, cousins, and grandparents things like "What animal would you like to be for a day?" or "What was your all time favorite Christmas present?". I also used to record stunt videos with my sister Sarah. We endured the long doldrums of late summer by trying to make action movie magic with razor scooters, playgrounds, and flipping into the pool. We even recreated an entire episode of the show Survivorman in our backyard.

In other news, I think the Recker family is going to get into the Turkish roach breeding business. To date, I've kept a bin of super worms in my closet to use as spider food. Super worms don't eat a lot. They don't make a lot of noise. They've been perfectly polite house guests, but in the ranks of spider food they have their drawbacks.

Firstly, super worms burrow, and this gets complicated when they begin to run free in a tarantula's abode. On a few occasions, I've had to nearly take apart Spidey's enclosure just to retrieve an unruly super worm that dug its way into his burrow. Not to mention, super worms can bite. I've never had the pleasure of receiving a super worm bite, but I read that they can do serious damage to a spider if they get lucky. Super worms are also big. To feed my tiny juvenile spiders, I'm only using the head or the butt - the rest of the worm just gets thrown away.

Turkish roaches, on the other hand, cannot burrow. They have wings, but they cannot fly. There also much less likely to hurt a spider. The other cool thing about Turkish roaches is that they have no larval stage. The babies look like tiny versions of the adults, and they simply get bigger as they mature, so there is always an appropriate sized roach for any spider to hunt and take down. Roaches also aren't very picky. Unlike my super worms, they won't turn their nose up at acidic fruits like apples and oranges.

The main drawback, however, is that they are cockroaches. They scurry speedily. They breed prolifically, and the thought of accidentally releasing them into the house makes me nervous enough to put a lot of thought into this enclosure. Yesterday we bought a thick plastic bin from Home Depot with a lid that latches in six different places.

As of now, we have fifty Turkish roaches on the way in the mail. As for the super worms, I'll continue to feed them off - which will get easier as the spider collection grows. But I'm excited to see where this goes, if anything I think I'll get some excellent spider strike footage to share.

That's what I got today. Thanks for stopping by today, have a great Tuesday.