Thursday, November 11 2021

fat spiders, headshot outtakes, and ice skating

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Dear Journal,

Good morning, everyone. From my computer to yours, I'm sending you the coziest energy on this dreary, rainy Thursday morning. Typing in a dimly lit dining room, I'm joined only by Ziggy. She's curled up on top of a blanket resting her head on the window sill. She's staring through the rain speckled pane of glass like a forlorn lover waiting for her soulmate to return. That's Ziggy for you. She exudes drama, even when she's just taking a nap.

I love rainy mornings like this. What a perfect pairing for a quiet Thursday workday. Apart from a brief midday stand-up with my team, writing this journal entry is probably the most social task I need to accomplish today. It's a great day to hide out in my upstairs lair, write code, and drink coffee. On some days, I'm a social butterfly. Today, I'm a spider.

Sip. Speaking of spiders, as a Spider parent I've learned that I have a toxic trait I need to get a handle on. I'm a chronic over-feeder. It seems like all of my specimens, except for the freshly molted glassy, are too fat and in some form of pre-molt. Pre-molt has to be the least interesting phase of owning a spider. Their colors begin fade. They become sluggish and uninterested in their environment. Without any survival motivation to explore or investigate different stimuli, they sit motionless in the deepest, darkest pocket of their burrow, and it can last for weeks. Eventually, they flip on their backs and shed their outer skin, returning back to the surface when they are ready to hunt again.

Some spider owners practice "power feeding", intentionally over-feeding their babies with the belief that this will cause them to grow more quickly. But there's a competing theory that over-feeding spiders merely sends them into pre-molt sooner and has no affect on when their molt happens. My observations back that up. I've noticed my spiders seem mopey when they're over-satiated. They're more reserved. They're reluctant to interact with their environment. I'm probably guilty of projecting, but Spidey particularly seems depressed when he's had too much to eat.

My problem is that I enjoy feeding them too much. Once I break out the roach bin, my will becomes more pliable toward passing out extra snacks to any of the spiders that happen to be out - and I'm definitely not alone in this. It's easy to over-feed spiders because they make such a spectacle out of hunting and it's undeniably fun to watch. Take the sand spider, for instance. The crab-like arachnid buries itself in sand, waiting for pray to cross it's path. In nature, this spider eats once a year, but when kept as a pet I read that these spiders are commonly over-fed to death, simply because they are so much fun to watch. Not many people have to the patience and self-control to feed a spider as infrequently as they eat in the wild.

So there you go. I guess along with the rest of us, my spiders are going to begin a miniature diet to trim up before we head into the holidays. I think I'll be keeping the roach bin sealed for the near future - and you can help hold me accountable. If I post any new feeding videos this week, I want you to yell at me in the Instagram comments for over-feeding my spiders.

In other news, I had a good day of work yesterday. Among closing tickets, conducting a training session, and following up with lots of different conversations on slack, I changed out my work photo. Lacking any serious pictures of myself where I'm not rolling in k'nex, wearing a silly mask, or sword fighting with Rodney, Sarah was nice enough to take some solo "LinkedIn" headshots at our recent family photo shoot.

Let me amuse you with some of the outtakes. Sarah instructed me to periodically look down and frown, in order to relax my cheek muscles. She happened to capture some of these dead-eyed frowns.


"You should use that one," laughed Marissa. "That one says, 'PULL REQUEST DENIED'." Personally I like the contrast of the beautiful autumn backdrop against my grumpiness. Some might prefer that kind of image to precede them at work, but in practice I'm a lot more "happy-go-lucky" in code reviews.

This one would be an interesting pick too.


Grumpiness, with a twist of disappointment. To me, this picture says something that definitely was supposed to work perfectly is horribly broken.

Rodney got his COVID shot yesterday. If he had any symptoms, they were imperceptible to us. He snuggled under the couch and watched Blue's Clues with Miles, just as he would on any other half-day off from school. After work, we still headed for ice skating practice.

Rodney seems to have invented a new method of skating forward. When these kids first start off, they teach them to take tiny marches with their skates. It's not the most efficient method, but it's easier to balance. Rodney now glides with his left foot planted on the ice, shoveling his right leg behind him. Over the other kids that have stuck with the tiny marches, it's given him a lethal advantage when they play games like red-light green-light and Mr. Fox. It's neat watching Rodney get comfortable on skates. Watching him invent new ways to move forward or absent mindedly coast backwards while explaining a story to Eddie, it's hard to even remember a time where the ice terrified him.

That's what I got today. I think it's time to head upstairs and jump into some work. I have a day off tomorrow, so I think this will be the last entry until Monday. Hope you all have a great rest of the week, and a solid weekend.

Thanks for stopping by today - happy Thursday.