I’m on a mailing list where there is currently a debate about Grand Theft Auto 3. This is a group that is devoted to women’s issues in games, and they are incensed that GTA3 won the IGDA industry award for Game of the Year this year, calling it a ’slap in the face’ that other developers would vote a game that was so misogynistic to be the GotY. The specific complaint: the fact that you can get sex from a prostitute, and then kill the prostitute to get your cash back, is an insult to all of womankind, and all mankind should be ashamed of themselves. Continue reading
My puffer fish has faced down a 12 inch eel, scared several fish to the point where they icked themselves to death and pulled the claws off of any crustacean I put in the tank, but last night, he finally met his match.
I installed a new powerhead recently which has a pretty wide lower lip, where it has a significant amount of uptake associated with it. The puffer apparently wandered under it. End result: when I found him last night at 3 AM (and only because I couldn’t sleep), the right side of his face was stuck in the intake.
To his credit, he was pretty calm. His porcupine quills were somewhat erect, but he seemed pretty complacent overall. He does, after all, rule the tank. That’s what puffer’s do. His name is E.T., as he has the same face as the cute, smiling alien, and literature on puffers always start off with something along the lines of “They are popular due to their gentle appearance and dog-like playfulness”. They then conclude with “Don’t put other puffers in there with your puffer. Don’t put shrimp or crabs. Don’t put tangs or triggers. Don’t put any fish in smaller than the puffer. Don’t put in anemones.” Puffers, you see, are playful. They like to play with their food. Pulling off a crab’s legs and watching him try to run away is the sort of thing that E.T. does.
So he was feeling pretty cocky. He figured that there’d be a way out of this. At any rate, I thought I’d help him. I took my net, and tried to gently push him off of the intake. E.T. then decided that this problem was bad enough without this additional complication poking at his ass.
He puffed up to be the size of a grapefruit.
There are those who think that puffing is a stupid defense mechanism. Let me tell you that I, for one, almost shit myself when he did that. Of course, I also have the benefit of knowing that, if puffing fails, puffers will drop a load of poison, which is pretty much capable of killing everyone (including in a small, confined tank, the puffer himself). Someone set us up the bomb, indeed.
So I freaked out. I dropped the net, reached down, and unplugged the tank. The powerhead slowed, and then stopped, and a few minutes away, the puffer drifted away. He still had that happy, silly grin on his face, but some of his porcupine spikes had been pulled erect, and his eye was about half an inch out of place. On a four-inch fish, that can be quite considerable, a theory that was proven when ET attempted to eat food, not swim in circles and get close to the glass without bumping into it. The asymmetrical eye does add a special eerieness to an already somewhat creepy little fish. He now has that inbred, West Virginian look to him.
Fortunately, when I woke up this morning, everyone was still alive, meaning E.T. wasn’t fatally traumatized and he didn’t set us up the bomb. His face has also almost morphed back to normality. Somewhere, though, there are a whole lot of crustaceans laughing at him.