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Medium Dawn Felagund of the Fountain

The Third Apprenticeship Is Finally Finished!

The (Cyber) Bag of Weasels

bread and puppet




"About as much fun as a bag of weasels"...when I first saw this Irish adage, it made me think of the life of a writer: sometimes perilous, sometimes painful, certainly interesting. My paper journal has always been called "The Bag of Weasels." This is the Bag of Weasels' online home.

The Third Apprenticeship Is Finally Finished!

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tiki hut
I finally had my last apprenticeship training at the Aquarium this morning. My aquarist Keri was all over herself with apologies because I started training back in November. Yikes. But it's been difficult, with my weekend-only availability and the fact that the aquarists only cover weekends about once a month, and Keri just spent a few weeks in the Amazon ... but I'm finally finished. Whew.

... and it looks like I will be moving galleries.

I currently work in the fourth-floor gallery that is a hodgepodge of different things: kelp forest, Pacific coral reef, Amazon river forest, and upland rainforest. Bobby works downstairs on the second floor in Maryland: Mountains to the Sea. Our aquarists, however, work opposite schedules which for some reason that I don't completely understand makes it kind of tough for Bobby and me to work the same schedule. Which would be ideal.

In other words, Bobby would work one weekend and I'd work the next; it'd be much simpler (and what we intended!) to work the same weekends and be able to drive in together.

Luckily, the Aquarium is conservation-minded and doesn't want us wasting gas if we don't have to either. So I'll probably be learning a new gallery and either dividing my time between the new gallery and the fourth floor or moving to a new gallery entirely. And just when I learned the fourth floor, too!

Next week, though, I'll be working on the fourth floor with an assistant who's been there for nine years, just in case I have questions on what I need to do. I shouldn't; today solidified for me everything on which I'd been uncertain or had questions. It helped that it was just Keri and me, and I wasn't wandering around with another assistant, hearing Keri's instructions secondhand. But in the fourth-floor gallery, every tank is just so damned different from the next so it seems impossible to memorize everything, though I'm sure it will be much easier once it becomes routine.

But it's such fun ... I can't wait to go back next week in my official uniform shirt and badge! No more street clothes and dorky homemade badge.

Several things have changed since I was last there two-and-a-half months ago. For one, the anaconda in the Amazon River Forest died. It's always sad when an animal dies (particularly such a big animal), but the anaconda was a serious pain in the ass. Because we had to go into the exhibit with it, there could be no less than three people in there at a time: a "spotter" from the rainforest staff, an aquarist, and an assistant. Even though I wasn't afraid of the anaconda, it was still far less tense to go into the ARF today, knowing that I didn't have to constantly be on the lookout for a 25-foot snake trying to bite my ass.

The sloth up in the upland rainforest died too, a few days ago, of old age. That was really sad because she'd been there forever and was one of the animals that I remember looking for when I was a kid. She was named Rapunzel for her long, tangled hair.

The clownfish were moved into the Pacific coral reef: two mated pairs. At this point, one-half of one of the pairs decided that s/he liked the other pair better, so there is a clownfish threesome going on over on one side of the tank while the poor rejected loner hangs out on the other.
  • Hahaha, fishy threesomes. And people say there's no sexual deviation among animals...
    • I was reading an article the other day, actually, about how researchers have found that so-called "monogamous animals," such as red-winged blackbirds, sometimes "cheat" on their spouses. It was interesting. There's so much that we still don't understand about animals and we're often guilty of giving them human motives for their behavior.

      Now I just need to find out what it is about this one specific pillow that makes Alex hump it all the time. :^D
    • I think there's also some species where the male breeds the female for the survival of the animal, but otherwise turns to other males for companionship.

      At least, I don't think I made that up!

      We're also guilty of thinking that animals have no emotion.

      Maybe he likes the pillow color? Horses are like that. "Nope, the blonde just doesn't do it for me." ;)
    • There's so much that we still don't understand about animals and we're often guilty of giving them human motives for their behavior.

      Hmmm, well, anthropomorphisms notwithstanding, here's some (non-fiction) reading someone with a background in biopsychology might enjoy: Our Inner Ape and Primates and Philosophers: How Morality Evolved</i, both by Frans de Waal. Both are fabulous books, five pant-hoots each!
  • The clownfish were moved into the Pacific coral reef: two mated pairs. At this point, one-half of one of the pairs decided that s/he liked the other pair better, so there is a clownfish threesome going on over on one side of the tank while the poor rejected loner hangs out on the other.

    That? Just made my day, which was already pretty good to begin with.
    • I'm glad that NAiB's sexually deviant clownfish made someone's day! :^D

      It's funny because one of the things that all of the exhibit guides are expected to know is where to tell kids to go to "find Nemo." (This, after asking where and when the dolphin shows are, is apparently one of the most frequently asked questions.) Hopefully, the exhibit guides (or parents!) won't be fielding embarrassing questions about Nemo's current living situation!
  • Me and my funny eyes- I read this: the anaconda was a serious pain in the ass. as the anaconda *had* a serious pain in the ass, and went, "What? But where is an anaconda's- ...oh." xD
    • LMAO!! I don't know where it is, to tell you the truth. This is why I am an aquarist assistant and not a herpetology assistant! :^D

      The anaconda did have a figurative pain in the ass: all those annoying humans who insisted on coming in and poking her with brooms to get her off the path.
  • Nemo likes his threesomes. Hehehe.

    What killed the anaconda?
    • Finding Nemo: The XXX Version. :^D

      I think that the anaconda died of a protozoan infection that it caught from the turtles in the ARF exhibit.
      • *snickersnickers* Now that's a Disney movie I wanna see!

        Turtles are okay, though, I hope?
        • Hey, Disney occasionally faces accusations about introducing adult images into children's movies ... :^D

          When I was a teenager, I'd watch the movies just to look for them!

          The turtles are just fine. The protozoa are normal to their systems but made the anaconda sick. I don't know why ... this wasn't the first anaconda that we'd had at NAiB, and I don't think they'd had problems before. Though I've only been there for a couple of months (and in training the whole time!) so I don't know the whole history/story behind it either.
          • Hehehe. I like the list. xDDD

            I see. Well, I'm glad about the turtles. ♥ *likes turtles* I like snakes too, but that anaconda sounds a bit toooo big.
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