Been away for awhile on a cruise to Alaska! Check out some of the sights so far. There’s all sorts of awesomeness, with more pics to come. 🙂
I finally made one of my long-time wishes a reality with the purchase of a Canon T6i bundle! I’m really excited about this and very pleased with the quality of images I’m seeing already. Funny enough, my dad had his eye on the very same one so we ended up both getting the bundle at Costco. For the longest time, I told myself I’d get a DSLR once I tried my hand at some manual settings on my regular camera. I did play around with the options, but not as much as I wanted. So I let many years go by before I decided to go ahead with it because I keep dreaming of the awesome photos I can take and I want to have something nice to vlog with.
At first I was going to look for a used or refurbished T3i, which seems to be what all those YouTubers use. But when I found that the price wasn’t nearly as cheap as I’d hoped, I figured I’d be better off getting a nicer one in a bundle. The idea of an extra lens and battery, along with some other accessories, really appealed to me. Turns out I like brand new things that are well put together for me. I’ll pay for the niceties and all just so I can experience that awesome fresh out of the box feeling. My dad’s the same way.
We both eagerly tore into our respective boxes and played around with setting up and using our cameras. I didn’t even get a chance to use it in daylight yet, but I’m very impressed with what came from the dim night lighting that looks soooo much better on this camera. I certainly wasn’t used to such good shots coming from low lighting like that. Call me a happy camper!
I’m very pleased with this camera and I can’t wait to try some outdoor nature shots.
Back when we were in Hawaii, I finally got myself a little Hawaiian red shrimp ecosphere. While I’d seen the crazy expensive closed systems before, I liked that the one I found includes a lid that opens. Just in case I need to feed them or change the water, right? So I happily bought the travel set, which included the jar with sand and a fake little plant plus a separate plastic bottle with the shrimp and some blue pellets (food, I presume). All I had to do was put it in my checked bag for transport back home!
I also decided to get a set of snails to add to my new little ecosystem, just to help clean the water. While in Hawaii, I kept them in the bottle together and spent hours watching them. The snails liked to hide up on the lid, out of the water. Whenever they did go down, the shrimp would immediately gravitate towards them and pick at their shells. They must have some tasty algae growing on those shells! When it came time to travel, I carefully wrapped the bottle in paper towels and put it in a box, just in case anything leaked. I then wrapped the box in some of my clothes to try to offer the best buffer between potential jolts and coldness.
Upon arrival many hours later (and a good 30-degree drop in temperature too), I gingerly opened everything and found minimal leakage of water. The shrimp and snails were just fine. I then set about setting up their habitat and enjoyed a beautiful jar to put on the counter or table. Check out the pictures below to show you what has happened since…
hawaiian shrimp and nerite snail timelapse from Mary Qin on Vimeo.
I did a timelapse video of the super active new snail and its four little shrimp friends! Little did I know what was about to happen…
It was too much trauma and the water sucked back in was gross with dust and cat hair. Another one died promptly and I was so upset, until I realized that both my two remaining shrimp and snail are used to not just brackish water, but fresh water and salt water. They’re pretty good at adjusting to different levels of salinity, so I decided to clean out the jar and give them fresh water for awhile. Except I had no idea what sort of fresh water to use, so I used a water bottle. By the next morning, that seemed to kill the other two shrimp (or maybe they were already beyond help 🙁 ). And so it was just my poor little snail. Even it gave me a scare a few days later when I thought it had died. Thankfully, by that night it was climbing up the glass again.
After this happened, I immediately decided I needed to order some shrimp to replace the ones I lost and found Shrimp Mart after some searching. I felt they had really reasonable prices, especially when it came to shipping, so I opted for their 20 Opae Ula selection. I wanted to get their live Angel Hair Moss too, but they were out of stock at the time. Too bad! Maybe another time, or hopefully I can get some locally.
I’m not sure what the pink thing is, but it seems to be a food source. I think it just allows algae growth on it and is just a sort of sponge that the shrimp wouldn’t eat. I carefully transferred the shrimp into the jar and the amount of water they came in was just perfect! I then noticed a strange thing squirming around, which I figured it couldn’t be parasitic or dangerous since it’d been in the bag with all the shrimp on the trip and they were fine.
I need to make sure I get the right kind of brackish water for them before I use another container for some of them. I hope they don’t feel too crowded in this jar. I’ve since put the pink thing in with them, so they have a place to hide and eat from. And yes, I am much more paranoid about where I place the jar now. No place feels safe, even the ground!
Check out the video of them settled in their home!
This past weekend, the National Air and Space Museum’s Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center had its second annual open house. They opened the doors to the staff areas where restorations take place in the Mary Baker Engen Restoration Hangar, a variety of items are archived, and more. We walked through the hangar, went on a freight elevator, saw the conservation lab, and looked around their library. I was pretty impressed by how many staff and volunteers they had. Panda was one of them! These people are totally aviation/space/history nerds and it’s cool to see their passion.
Yesterday our company had our holiday party celebration at a laser tag place! I think it was my first time, but then I have this faint memory of darkness, glowing lights, and being downright awful at the game. I don’t know if that was just a dream from my childhood or an actual memory. Either way, I was very new to this experience and had a lot to learn. We booked the whole place for over 4 hours and it was quite the night of fun and exercise!
I’d show you those pictures, but some of my coworkers might not want to appear on my blog. 😛 Just imagine a break room painted with some sort of alien landscape with observation domes. There are a bunch of long tables and chairs there for people to sit (in our case, eat and drink). Across the way are doors leading to the briefing room, which is mostly kept darkened. There are other things painted on to these walls and it sort of looks like the background in the next picture. Three sides of the room have wooden benches lining them, one row in front, one row in back much like bleachers. Along the forth wall are the rules, a sample gem (glowing thing on the wall that can give you power-ups but also tag you), and a blown up example of what the display screen on the gun look like.
They walk you through the basics and then let us choose how we wanted to play each time. The first time it was two teams against each other. The second time we went crazy with four. The third time we toned it down to three and the forth time we had team captains split us into two teams (I’m pretty sure I was the worst player on my team then, but we still won!). And finally they went a fifth time with free for all. I really wanted zombies and didn’t want to get demolished in the free for all, so I sat out and got to stand by the entrance to watch everyone else battle it out. The same 6 or 7 people kept running around and around the area closest to me. Seems like many people had zones they preferred, so some sort of pattern.
Alright, tonight’s the first night we saw Smokey go into her new box of her own volition. Pretty exciting stuff, I have to say. Panda did have to cut the hole larger after the original hole turned out to require Smokey to squeeze in and out of. Now she can easily step in and out of the box comfortably. 🙂
Somehow I always manage to forget to take pictures after coming back from a trip and it’s week later when I actually have a haul post ready. This time around I got so eager to share some of the snacks we brought back that they were taken to work and devoured (or given to my parents) before I ever snapped a photo. But here’s a look at some of the cool things we got while in Oahu last month!
Panda’s been wanting to create a little hideaway shelter for Smokey to use whenever she wants to get away from light and noise. She likes to go sit in our closets sometimes when the outside stuff gets to be too much. We decided to cut a hole into a cardboard box we have that she can crawl into. We put shredded packing paper on the bottom to make it more enticing and hopefully she’ll like it!