Monday, October 18 2021

rodneys snake keeper, rewiring, and reef-a-palooza

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Dear Journal,

Good morning, everybody. Happy Monday. I snapped today's banner image almost an hour ago before Rodney bounced out the back door on his way to school.

"He looks like the realization is slowly starting to creep in," said Marissa, laughing at the picture on the monitor from over my shoulder. "Like, he's figuring out that school is forever."

What do you think? Do you detect any hidden turmoil in this picture? Some of the novelty may be wearing off on his school routine, but I think Rodney still has unwavering enthusiasm for even the boring parts of his life. It's the Rodney state of mind.

I chose to celebrate the Rodney state of mind with a napkin drawing of our favorite recurring imaginary character in his rambling anecdotes - his snake keeper. We've only indirectly learned about Rodney's snake keeper through stories, references, and sometimes pretend phone calls. Is he a scientist? A hired expert? A trusted confidant? A spirit animal that visits him in his dreams? As far as I can tell, Rodney's snake keeper is just a super cool snake wrangling imaginary friend - a dude in shades and a backwards facing hat that does cool stuff with snakes.


Artist rendering of Rodney's snake keeper

Sip. Good morning, everybody. It's good to be here. What did you get up to this weekend?

We went to Pet World. Marissa brought us along to return a misfit UV bulb. While she dealt with the Pet World genius bar, Rodney and I wandered the store. Rodney thinks of himself as a Pet World expert, so he took it upon himself to give me a tour of every aisle and side room in the store. It didn't matter to him that I had been there before.


"These are where the birds live."

This weekend, I also spontaneously decided to rewire the computers in the house. Remember those extra ethernet ports we had installed in the dining room a few months ago? They're finally live, and they're paying dividends. This weekend I was able to retire two daisy-chained switches and a pair of long ethernet cables running into the basement through a vent. My master plan was almost foiled - the dining room PC was a measly inch short of resting on the desk in the corner. Our decorate wooden charcuterie board heroically answered the call.


See? This is why you keep wedding presents like these.

My upstairs office got the same treatment, only now I have an Xbox docked in the little space between the table and my work computer.

While I hacked away at cables, Marissa worked on the gecko enclosure. She added mounds of soft dirt, fluffy moss, and dark tile for basking in the heat. She tried to go above and beyond, using plastic water bottles and an inflated balloon to form a mold for a burrow in hardening clay, but the clay wasn't quite strong enough. Still, I think this set-up is going to feel fun and cozy for the new lizard, which we've democratically decided to name Ducky.


If all goes according to plan, there will be a lizard in this box on Wednesday.

By far, the big adventure of the weekend was our trip to Reef-A-Palooza. Reef-A-Palooza is the biggest saltwater aquarium expo in the country, and as luck would have it, one of the four yearly stops is in Schaumburg Illinois.


A great excuse to visit Lou Malnati's too.

We arrived at the spacious convention center. We wandered through a maze of lavishly decorated booths. We gazed at colorful coral frags that sparkled under the blue light.


We've arrived


"This reminds me of that one song... how does it go again? Something something... DA-BA-DEE DA-BO-DIEEEEE?"

It might surprise you that we saw very few fish at Reef-A-Palooza. Saltwater aquariums are all about the coral. They vendors use long neon straws to point out the frags for you. They handed out special orange tinted sunglasses that cancelled out the blue light so you could see the coral's true color. While Marissa was finalizing a purchase, we chatted up one of the vendors. We learned the shop was based in Denver. Just imagine traveling across the country with a tent, a giant viewing tank, and hundreds of delicate corals.

"What's moving all this stuff like?" asked Marissa.

"It sucks," he laughed. "But it's fun to travel and meet other people in the hobby."


At this point, I've lost track of the corals in Marissa's tank. I need to get around to making a Recker Family pet directory just to help me keep everything straight. But here's some shots of the tank from this morning - the new corals are somewhere in these.


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