Saturday, May 26, 2007

Holiday Weekend

Here's to hoping that every American will remember what this weekend is all about. There's so much more to Memorial Day than cookouts and trips to the beach. Please take a moment out of your long weekend to remember those that have given their all for this nation.

Say Hello To The BFS

Recent comments about the "BFS's" here in Okinawa prompted this one. The spider above is the Japanese Huntsman Spider. We refer to them simply as "BFS's," or Big F'ing Spiders.

They are not web spinners, and hunt by chasing down their prey (mostly cockroaches and flies). Their bite is not extremely dangerous, but can be painful. They are typically shy creatures, but can be aggressive if cornered or startled. They are the largest hunting spider in Japan, and often grow to 10cm in diameter. The one pictured above is next to an American quarter for reference.

Gawfer mentioned the banana spiders, members of the orb weaver family, in a previous comment. Those are quite numerous here as well, but they are pretty easy to spot, due to their large webs. The BFS's are not as easy to spot, as they are fond of hiding in the various nooks and crannies of one's home. Many of the local populace are happy to have them in their homes, as the BFS's are a cheap form of insect control. I, on the other hand, can't stand the damned things. There's nothing like laying in bed at night and looking up to see a spider the size of a saucer crawling along the wall above my head. Creepy.

Friday, May 25, 2007

No Good Deed Goes Unpunished

Once again, welcome to my new blog. Here's yet another little story from my past that may or may not amuse somebody somewhere...

While sitting in the middle of the desert in Kuwait, I had the opportunity to observe and, unfortunately, interact with various forms of wildlife that I had never seen before. There were strange new birds, spiders, rats, and a plethora of creepy reptiles to watch. Unfortunately, the various species of rats were fond of crawling into our sleeping bags for warmth at night. I had packed a small government-issue tent with me, so I was lucky enough to not have any companions in the night. Others were less fortunate, and would often awake to some sort of furry little rodent scurrying around in their sleeping bag. Whenever I heard something like, "What the hell! Son of a bitch!" in the middle of the night, I knew that another Marine had made a new friend.

One early morning, while walking from my spot in the sand to a more open area in order to do my business, I saw a lizard sitting in the middle of our main dirt road. It appeared to be slightly wounded, and I knew that if it remained there, it would surely be run over by one of the many vehicles that routinely moved about the encampment. Being the generous person that I am, I picked up the little reptile, with plans to simply take it into the open field and release it in a safer spot. I had played with lizards and horned toads as a young kid, and was in no way frightened by them. I had no idea if this particular species was venomous or not, so I donned one of my leather gloves to pick him up with (I wasn't sure if it was a him or a her, but we'll stick with "him" for simplicity).

I continued on my way, and walked into the field across the road to pick a good spot to recycle some instant coffee. I was actually talking to him as I walked along. "Plenty of bugs for you to get after over here buddy." I set the little lizard down in the dirt and said a well meant, "There you go little feller." I had no sooner unbuttoned my trousers when the biggest spider I had ever seen appeared out of a small hole in the ground and snatched the lizard up in it's furry fangs and legs. It then drug the lizard down into its hole. "Holy crap!" It was startling and creepy. I instantly thought about how much that lizard must be thanking me for my "good deed." Oh well, I guess the spider was thankful for the free meal.

Welcome Aboard

Welcome to my new blog. My old blog had a large following (larger than I even knew about), but my blogging grew cumbersome. I decided to start a new blog... and just write. If you like my writing, feel free to leave a comment. If you don't like my writing, go ahead and leave a comment as well. If you don't want to comment, that's fine too. Here's my first post:

When I was a young boy, my mother was a stay at home mom. She was always around. I think I learned valuable lessons from that, lessons that many children today never learn. I learned a very valuable lesson one particular day. I was playing in the dining room with our family dog. My mom was on the phone with a friend, and I was teasing the dog with a treat. I'd offer the treat to the dog, and then yank it away. Our dog would then bark and whine about it. My mother came into the dining room and scolded me a bit, "Quit teasing that dog!" As soon as she went into the other room, I resumed my entertaining activities (I never claimed to be the smartest man in the world).

Apparently, my mother was paying closer attention to what I was doing than I thought she was. She soon came bursting into the dining room, grabbed me by the arm, and took me over to the closet where The Paddle was kept. Doom. She retrieved The Paddle from the closet and went to work on my backside. In the middle of her paddling, she asked me, "Now, are you going to quit doing that?" I can't figure out what part of the paddling experience confused me, but I had it in my mind that she had asked me if I was going to DO it anymore, not if I'd stop. I, of course, said, "NO!" Being that my answer was the direct opposite of what I SHOULD have given, the paddling intensified. My poor little butt was probablly growing redder by the second. What to do?

I took my licks and, with quivering lip, made my way to my room. Our dog followed me. I felt compelled to kick the crap out of that was all her fault! Thankfully, I didn't give in to my misplaced desire. When I calmed down a bit, and saw the look in her eyes, I felt differently. She looked at me with the same love that she had when we were playing. My mother's whoopin' didn't have half of the effect that the look on that dog's face had. I learned a valuable lesson that day: Be very careful what you say to a parent while getting a whoopin', and dogs love us unconditionally. I miss that dog.