Archive for March, 2012

A dozen red shrimp for Valentine's

March 12th, 2012

(This event took place before Valentine's Day, but I've only now gotten around to documenting it!)

My dad is quite supportive that I've finally developed an aquatic hobby. He thought it would be cute to get me something that's a spin-off of the stereotypical dozen red roses for Valentines. He went to the pet shop and bought me a dozen red opae ula.

This was right after the first batch died, and before I had gotten the 200 new ones from Online Friend Dennis. My dad wanted to encourage me to keep up the hobby.

I was driving home later than usual from work and he called my cell. "Where are you? Are you coming home soon?" he asked.

"Be home in half an hour. I had a late meeting," I said. "Why?"

"Oh, nothing," he said, then apparently went over and waited at my house till I came home. We live eight houses apart, so it wasn't a hardship.

I could tell something was abuzz when I walked in because he was all smiley and my mother was all frowney. That is their their typical reaction any time my dad has a bag from the pet shop in his possession.

Valentine's shrimp in the 1 gallon

Valentine's shrimp acclimating to the 1 gallon

I know this is MY hobby now, but I'm sure after 40 years my mom just can't kick the habit. Plus, she's probably worried that my electricity bill is going to quintuple due to filters and lights. That's what she lived with for decades until forcing him to scale back greatly.

"I got something for you," my dad exclaimed proudly.

I immediately put it together before I even opened the bag. I pulled it out and confirmed my hunch. "Wow, thanks, Dad! Exciting!" I said.

A dozen red opae ula, just waiting to be freed into the one gallon tank.

"He was so excited to give this to you," added my mother.

It was a very sweet thought, and to me, way better than red roses.

Red Cross Month in March

March 9th, 2012

Each year the President of the United States proclaims March "Red Cross Month." The American Red Cross uses this opportunity to promote its services to the American public and for fundraising.

The Red Cross is not a government agency. All disaster training and services are free, made possible by generous donations from local individuals and businesses and dedicated volunteers.

Since 1917, the Hawaii Red Cross has responded to every major disaster in Hawaii, including Hurricanes Iniki and Iwa, Hilo tsunami, Pearl Harbor bombing, Sacred Falls landslide, Xerox shooting, Ehime Maru, New Years flood, Manoa flood, Spring 2006 Oahu floods & Kaloko Dam burst, Fall 2006 Big Isle earthquake, 2007 Winter storm, December 2008 floods, February 2010 tsunami warning, air crashes, mercury contamination, hostage situations, and other local disasters.

In honor of Red Cross Month, the Hawaii Red Cross has these activities planned:

Online Auction (March 1-16)
Fabulous items up for bid. All proceeds go to the Hawaii Red Cross.
check it out at

Zippy’s Promotion (March and April)
During the months of March and April, Zippy’s will be raising funds for the Hawaii Red Cross. You can help by:

·        Purchasing their new Kokua Pac (Korean Chicken, Portuguese Sausage, hot dog, spam, on rice) and 25 cents of each purchase will be donated.
·        Purchasing a Red Cross sign at their counters for $1 (all proceeds to the Red Cross)
·        Making a customer donation in canisters available at Zippy’s restaurants
In addition, their keiki menu for March and April will include disaster preparedness tips for the family.

Pizza Hut/Taco Bell Promotion (March 1-11)
If you purchase either of the items below, $1 will be donated to the Hawaii Red Cross.
Pizza Hut: Extra Large Stuffed Crust Pizza
Taco Bell: Box Meals (2 to choose from -- Beefy Crunch Burrito, Crunchwrap, Taco & a Medium Drink or Cheesy Gordita Crunch,  Burrito Supreme, Taco and a Medium Drink).

Papa-John Promotion (month of March)
During March, Papa John’s will have customer donation canisters at their stores. All collections will go to the Hawaii Red Cross.  In addition, on Wednesday, March 28, Papa John’s will be having a special pizza night promotion.  Mention the Red Cross promotion that night, fill out a form (available on both our website and Papa John’s website) and a portion of the proceeds will go to the Red Cross.

7-11 Promotion (month of March)
During March, 7-11 stores have customer donation canisters at their stores. All collections will go to the Hawaii Red Cross.

Circle K Promotion (month of March)
Circle K stores below have collection canisters at their stores.  All collections will go to the Hawaii Red Corss
Oahu: Circle K Nimitz Hwy and Circle K Royal Kunia
Maui: Circle K Maui

Hats Off Event (Friday through Sunday, March 30, 31 and April 1)
On Saturday, March 31, off duty fire fighters, military service members and other volunteers will be collecting donations in hats at various locations statewide.  Volunteers will also be at all Walmart stores statewide the entire weekend.

The Emancipation of Brownie

March 7th, 2012

Brownie wasn't doing so great in my house. Brownie was a black nerite snail I got for the shrimp tank.

I bought two snails for $1 at Shirokiya, but when I got home one was dead, so in essence, Brownie cost me a buck. In retrospect, I could have gotten it for free from a tidepool, but whatever.

He kept crawling out, and I would find him in random places in the house, many feet from the tank.

My kitchen counter is black, and often cluttered, which made it hard to find him. Sometimes he'd be on the floor, which is not black, but it's where people's feet are so it was dangerous for him.

My jujitsu friend DJ is a professional fish seller. (I'm not sure of his actual title, but I'm sure that cannot be it.) Professional Fish Seller DJ said those snails are intertidal and will keep leaving the still waters of the tank, so I should just return him to the ocean rather than have him die of dehydration in the near future.


I informed Olivia of this, and we made a little event out of it. She was not overly attached to the snail and was fine with it. She does, however, enjoy being involved in the production of an event, and liked the idea of a journey to the beach for this purpose.


One Saturday, we all went down to Sandy Beach to emancipate Brownie. I'm not even sure if he was farm raised, but many of his compatriots were at the tidepools at Sandy's, so I'm sure he will be happier there.

We picked a nice spot and I uncapped the little plastic jar. "Here, put him in the water," I said to Olivia.

Free at last!

Free at last!

She tossed him in. "Bye, Brownie," she said, then turned her attention to the other critters in the shallow pool.

Marine hermit crab

Marine hermit crab

We had a nice time looking at the marine life followed by playing in the sand. We had remembered to bring her sand toys for this purpose. All in all, a really pleasant day.


We wouldn't have done this if not for Brownie, so actually, he was worth the dollar I spent. What it really bought us was a few fun memories.

Online chats

March 5th, 2012

I start telling this story to my friends and they think I'm a kook: I met this guy online. We were chatting and agreed to meet IRL. I went to his house last weekend.

I know it sounds like the start of a hookup, but it's not. It's the continuing story of my shrimp obsession.



I've been on online forums like, which in itself is so crazy geeky of me and I'm fully aware of it. In one thread, I met an avid hobbyist, Dennis.

Dennis' 20 gallon

Dennis' 20 gallon

He said to drop by if I wanted to see how he sets up his tanks. I'm actually very cautious, so I made sure to take Claus with me. Besides, I am the one who wanted to meet.

Dennis ended up being another hotel-industry worker in Waikiki, and we had some acquaintances in common. He was just another pet-nut like me with a pretty normal-seeming life and a nice wife.

Dennis' shrimp

Dennis' shrimp

We talked about shrimp and I told him I was inspired by his set up and wanted to emulate it. I, too, want to breed the shrimp. He has a 20 gallon tank with about 800 shrimp.

He told me exactly what to do and said to come back when I have it ready and he'll give me some. Totally cool.

The shrimp from Dennis

The shrimp from Dennis

The very next Saturday I ran out and did what he said to my 10 gallon tank. On Sunday, I went over and got a bucket of opae. He gave me dozens; that was so generous.

I ran home and started introducing the colony to the new tank. I did it in stages. I was once-burned, twice-shy.

I was afraid the water quality wouldn't be right for some reason, so I put a test group in to see if they lived for a couple days. They lived. In went the other 100 or so.

I run over and check them all the time. I moved the furniture so I could put a chair in front of the tank.

They turn clear when stressed out and red when happy; they're all red now.

In the 10 gallon

In the 10 gallon

"Really??" said Paul when I updated him on the shrimp. He thinks it's a frivolous fascination. "You should at least raise big shrimp, so now and then you can have a nice shrimp dinner." Oh, boo, Paul.

I have to admit, I see those blue packets of shelled shrimp quite differently now when I'm at the grocery store!

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