Greg's Ramblings:


Here is a bit from one of my journals that has a smidge about octos's in it...thought you might get a chuckle:

Vapid Confessions of an Aquarist

Greg Ewald 2009

There is something about depression that is, well, incredibly depressing, isn’t there? Dealing with the daily squabble to make ends meet, trying to keep a smile on your face when someone walks through the door, it can be very difficult. I guess that is why they call it life.
Take the Hawaiian Lionfish for example. Here you are, floating about the lovely coral reefs and snacking on some shrimp when some pus bag with a net scoops you up and sticks you into a meter long aquarium. There are probably some of those dodgy toys in there too, though you might like the one with the pirate skeleton and chest that bubbles. Now, how does that fish cope with depression? He may nip about the tank and harass the other inmates that he hasn’t swallowed yet, and make the occasional attempt to spear the aquarium keeper with his poisonous dorsal spines, but other than that, he seems content to float about the coral and rock and stare off into the distance.

The reputedly intelligent octopus from the same bay may well sulk for a month or two, coming out from a shelter to nab an occasional passing crab. When you see them in their little grottos, they glare at you magnificently, and thrash around their arms while turning different colours. If you rip one of these out of the wild, they rarely last long, many dying trying to get back to the mother ocean and drying out on your carpet while you are out picking up a new filter.

Piglet, my bichir, I have had for, jeez, I guess 20 years so far, and she seems quite content to gulp down her pellets in the morning and attempt to bite the cat that likes to sun herself on top of the tank. The light from the western window shines in perfectly on top of the tank, filtered by one of the largest Pothos plants ever grown in an aquarium, I think it is about nine feet long now, with foot wide leaves, and goes in and out of the tank as it wills. That plant is not depressed, and neither is Piglet. She gets very excited when I come in through the door with a bag of goldfish for her (the fish kind, not the snack) and races back and forth across the tank just waiting to get her sharp teeth onto them. I’ve never eaten one, as I refused to be part of a fraternal organization in college, but they must taste pretty darn good.
If my wife or a friend came through the front door with a bag of goldfish, I don’t think I could summon the same enthusiasm. Even if they were the cracker sort.

The snakes I have known do get quite happy when they smell mice. Note: if you have recently handled mice, do not attempt to pick up your juvenile Reticulated Python unless you have a large supply of cotton tissue and duct tape nearby.
Some people insist that animals can not feel joy or happiness. I think this is a pile of rubbish. You can not tell me that my Collie is not extremely happy rolling around in a dead mouse, and probably eating it in preparation to vomit it up at around two in the morning on one of the carpeted sections of the house we live in. Puking on the tile would be too easy to clean up, and therefore, not as much fun.

My owl, on the other hand, does seem to suffer from the same sort of depression as I do, and looks very dour most of the time, unless there is a cat nearby. He becomes quite animated around the cats, why, I don’t know, as they are completely indifferent to him, as if he was one of those plastic ones seem people mount on top of their houses for the pigeons to crap on. Now and again he will hoot at me, but for the most part, just glares a lot, typically at the back of my neck. It is like writing in the studio with an accountant who never will believe that you misplaced one of the documents needed prior to the 15th of April. That dead silent glare.
The freshest of dead mice ( I will not torture even mice, but buy them frozen and thaw them out on my desk, much to the chagrin of my wife at times) fails to even arouse the slightest bit of happiness from him. In fact, he looks at you such dripping contempt that you feel obligated to go shower, though that is probably not a bad idea after handling the dead mice anyway, and come back cleansed with a big smile on your face.
Maybe if I brought him some goldfish?

I myself find that now and again I succumb to depression, and tend to look to the animals to see how they handle it so well. Of course, my bichir doesn’t have a house payment due in three days, or has to talk to the credit card company for hours on end to find out why my bill is so ridiculously high (all of the goldfish) and why they persist on sending out bills two days after they are listed as “past due”. I do believe the owl understands a bit, he could probably be quite a good therapist for someone who likes to talk at three in the morning.

The fish seem placid no matter what, except for the goldfish , and swim merrily about their tanks, and reproducing much more than they should. They even seem to like the sunken ship ornament, and the little “no fishing” signs placed there. If the lights come on, they are happy, if they get fed, they are happy, and if nothing happens, they still just bang about the tank looking at whatnot and seeming to be quite content, I envy them so much. I suppose that is why so many dentists put them in their parlors, to give a sense of calm contentment to the people who are willing to have a complete stranger bore holes in their jaw with a fancy Dremel tool. I think the dental practices use the aquaria to cover up the sounds of screams and bone dust flying via the loud filtration too. If you have a large external filter running, it sounds somewhat like you are about fifty yards from Niagra Falls, and even the sound of people running in abject terror can be covered up.


Staff member
:thumbsup: tonmo likes this :smile: -- thanks for sharing, Greg! keep channeling your bichir's enthusiasm.


Staff member
Timely post but had to think about a reply. Being out of work myself and no prospects and no interviews in spite of the 30 odd well qualified applications, I identify with the house note due as well as some of the other thoughts. After thinking about it for a day, cleaning tanks, feeding critters and being constantly leaned on by the wolfhound, I decided the we keep animals of differing temprements to help us cope with the more complex life humans lead.


found another bit with a cephalopod:

Rats in the Refrigerator

Most people, when they say that they do have a rodent population in their refrigerator, are troubled by them gnawing at cables and getting stuck in the cooling fans and such. I’ve heard it creates quite a smell. A friend of mine had a series of chest freezers go offline once in the summer, unfortunately, they were full of dead emus being stored for “further use”. He didn’t find out that the freezers had blown the circuit breaker for a few days, after all, how often do you check on frozen emus? The odor was indeed astounding, I am sure that he had vultures circling his house for a long time after opening the first one.
In our house, our cold rodents are much more of even temper, since they are all dead, and stored in little Ziploc freezer bags, nicely arranged in even rows, like German troops in the Great War.
When one takes care of exotic animals, such as Archimedes the owl and my wife’s python, Princess, you just get used to having the little things next to the leftovers. The rats, of course, are kept in plain brown bags also, and most people know not to ask what is in the packages. My Great Aunt Kay, and I do mean “Great”, was the only one to open one without knowing the contents. Great Aunt Kay sort of billowed about a house, in her bright red and yellow muumuu’s, often commenting about the lack of any spirits of decent sort in her current highball glass. She was a very high-minded lady, and used to discuss the 1920’s with a curious aplomb that often left me quite winded by just imagining the high-jinks she got into. She was brazen and extremely honest about life, wonderful qualities in a Great Aunt, but was horrified to see, at a modern motion picture, that the actress had “shown her knees!” Thank god she never saw any of Kubrick’s films, she would have become catatonic. In her house in California, she had a marvelous pool with an octopus tile mural at the bottom, I keep on trying to find a photo of it, but am stuck with only the memory so far.
Once while out visiting, she volunteered to get some chicken that needed to be thawed out for a future dinner out of the freezer in the garage, and no one thought to mention that the brown paper sacks marked “chicken” were in fact baby chicks, pullets, destined for the gullet of my Reticulated Python. My parents knew, I knew, even my girlfriend knew, that it was best to avoid opening up the bag and seeing those little faces staring straight up at you. I think she expected a fryer or something. To this day, I still think she fainted not because of the sight of baby chicks, but the thought that those were the chickens we were going to really have for dinner. Sort of a “poor mans” game hen.

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