Ghost Shrimp, Vashta Nerada, Catfish, Gallifrey and Gipsy Danger–Yeah

Gipsy Danger the crown tailed betta named after a Jaeger

Ghost Shrimp named The Vashta Nerada

Ghost Shrimp named The Vashta Nerada

A blue and red crown tail betta named Gipsy Danger (once again, don’t judge me), is the first pet I’ve had in 20 years. I have a lot of repressed pet love that is being showered on this particular betta. Gipsy has a 5.5 gallon tank, into which I’ve placed two mystery snails — Degarla and Ebriah Horror of the Deep (remember – no judging). I have so much repressed pet love, even the snails are spoilt. I can’t let them go hungry though, that’d be cruel.

The snails have not seemed to be able to keep up with the algae growth in the tank, possibly because I feed them algae rounds once a day to make sure they don’t go hungry. They came home from the pet store absolutely starving, it would be cruel to continue that.

So Today I picked up 10 ghost shrimp and 1 tiny little catfish. They eat algae and the shrimp are alleged to eat any leftover betta pellets that Gipsy doesn’t eat. I deliberately asked for the most drab and small catfish in the shop so as not to cause Gipsy any grief.

To be honest, I knew better. The shop keeper said that the betta could share the tank with a small, non-aggressive fish if there were some place that the betta didn’t claim where the new fish could hide and stay. Gipsy claims every inch of the tank. I knew that but I tried it anyway.

Ebriah and ghost shrimp

Ebriah and ghost shrimp

First I gave Gipsy a special snack of freeze dried daphnia. While Gipsy was distracted I sipped the Ghost Shrimp into the tank and then the small catfish. I chose not to name any of the newcomers at first because I wasn’t sure how Gipsy would react to them, so at this point they were nameless.

The Ghost Shrimp were so fun to watch. They went into a frenzy of feeding, eating just as fast as they could. I have to confess that I was completely delighted by them as they swam around. But there was still Gipsy to make the final decision.

Gipsy seemed unconcerned with the newcomers, until the catfish moved. Then Gipsy noticed it. Whoa! Gipsy flared his gills and fins to the maximum. I had no idea his gills would flare like that. I hoped that Gipsy would calm down since the catfish was completely cowed by him but no. Gipsy kept at it until the poor catfish ran away. That was an even bigger mistake because Gipsy chased it and nipped at its fins. I finally had to rescue the poor catfish because Gipsy would not tolerate its presence in his tank.

Fortunately another member of the household had a tank with a more welcoming betta and the catfish went in there to live happily and be named Gallifrey. Gallifrey settled in nicely and the betta in that tank won’t chase it unless it darts in front of him.

Gipsy spent the rest of the afternoon being very affronted that I would even imagine that another fish would be permitted to live in his tank then transitioned into being insufferably smug that he successfully defended his territory. Gipsy is VERY territorial, even for a betta. I’m not really all that surprised.

Gipsy Danger the crown tailed betta named after a Jaeger

Gipsy Danger the crown tailed betta named after a Jaeger

The Ghost Shrimp were next to be noticed by Gipsy. For some reason Gipsy is more curious about them than anything. It helps that they scatter out of his way any time Gipsy gets close to them. Gipsy has not threatened them, even on the few occasions when they have caught his attention and he’s followed them to see what they are up to. Gipsy seems ok with invertebrates but Will. Not. Tolerate. Another fish.

After several hours with the ghost shrimp in the tank and Gipsy behaving like normal, as opposed to the flaring and posturing when the catfish was in there I decided it was ok to name the ghost shrimp. This was another problem because I had 10 of them and I couldn’t tell them apart. They were and are delightful but I can’t tell individual shrimp apart. This suggested a hive mind type of name so I started thinking about what monsters I knew that fit that description. Meganula from Megaguirus was a possibility but somewhat obscure. The Cybermat was an option but not one that really moved me. Then I hit upon Vashta Nerada and it said yes to me.

Degarla and Ebriah, all terrain snails.

Degarla and Ebriah, all terrain snails.

So now I have 13 residents in my aquarium: A crown tail betta named Gipsy Danger, 2 mystery snails, Degarla and Ebriah Horror of the Deep and 10 ghost shrimp named The Vashta Nerada. My hope is that they all live happily together for as long as their life spans permit. K.

Mothra Cosplay Makes The Rounds

Mosura-ya

Mosura-ya

Mosura-ya

After much thought, and many second thoughts I must confess, I shared a fairly unflattering photograph of my Mothra cosplay on the Mothra fan page. I should not have been worried. The people that run it are lovely and so are the fans. I chose the photo I did because it is the one with the best lighting and shows off the wings the best of any I’ve had taken so far. I look ridiculous since I’m trying to make the wings as big and visible as possible but that’s the beauty of Cosplayers and fans–they don’t judge, they love the cosplay and appreciate the work that went into it. Anyway it’s been shared on the Mothra page:

https://www.facebook.com/Queenofallkaiju

And on the Gabara page:

https://www.facebook.com/kaijugabara

on Facebook and while I don’t normally do this I’m pleased to share links to their pages. Kaiju fans feel free to check them out.

The Flash, Doctor Who and Constantine

Doctor Who

So I’ve been enjoying both The Flash and Constantine. Both very different shows from each other but good in their own way.

The Flash is great for family watching. I love a show you can watch with the family without worrying about appropriateness. Unfortunately I missed the first episode and sometimes the writing is a bit dicy but overall it is a good show. The writing seems to have settled down as the season progressed and honestly I’ve been enjoying it.

Doctor Who: Doctor, Doctor, Doctor; what has happened to you? I love Peter Capaldi as the doctor. I even loved Missy as The Master. What I don’t love is the way each episode has seemed to make promises it cannot or will not keep. Because of this every episode seems to end with a bit of a let down, as if the entire thing was a giant tease. That being said, still one of the best shows on television. In my opinion kill the Moon is far and away the best episode of season 8 with Death in Heaven second.

Constantine is horrible. I don’t mean it’s a horribly done show or poorly written or poorly acted just that horrible things happen to people in the episodes and the antagonists are fairly awful monsters too. This stands to reason since the premise of the show is that of a man whose soul has already been damned to hell who fights demons. This show is quite enjoyable to watch but I would not consider it appropriate for younger people. Thankfully it airs late on Friday night after prime time which seems to be the network’s big clue that it’s not considered wholesome family fare.

Doctor Who

Doctor Who

Thanksgiving Recipes, #Godzilla Review & Some Cosplay

Garlic Mashed potatoes, cheesy corn, dressing, turkey and other delicious dishes.

Thanksgiving is this week and due to family obligations I decided to have my Thanksgiving early. I made sage and mushroom dressing (never stuffing) which is always a favorite, cheesy corn (based off my best guess from Jack’s Stack BBQ in Kansas City–if you ever get to KC do give that place a try. The BBQ is absolutely superb and the cheesy corn is so tasty) and I played with my mashed potato recipe, adding 7 o 8 cloves of garlic to the potatoes as they boiled and then a whole container of brie cheese when I mashed them along with the stapes, butter, cream and salt and pepper. They were the absolutely best mashed potatoes I’ve ever made. I tried a new green bean recipe this time: Hoisin green beans with black sesame seeds. They were delicious also. Turkey was the main protein along with gravy to go with the mashed potatoes and dressing. There were also deviled eggs and this time I tried some fresh mozzarella capris hors d’oeuvres to get people started while I carved the turkey. There were rainbow carrots at the market and I got them to make glazed carrots. So a couple of recipes for you, gentle reader:

Garlic Mashed potatoes, cheesy corn, dressing, turkey and other delicious dishes.

Garlic Mashed potatoes, cheesy corn, dressing, turkey and other delicious dishes.


Garlic Brie Mashed Potatoes
4-6 large russet potatoes
7-8 cloves of garlic, peeled
heavily salted water for boiling
1 pkg brie, rind trimmed off and cut into cubes
1 stick butter (diet food this is not)
1/2 to 1 cup milk, half and half or cream (whichever you have or want to use)

peel and cut the potatoes into cubes and cook in boiling water with the garlic cloves until fork tender. Drain water, add potatoes and garlic back to pan. Add butter, cream, brie, salt and pepper. Mash with potato ricer. Delicious by themselves or with gravy.

Hoisin Green Beans
1 lb fresh green beans, cleaned and prepared for cooking
1 jar of Hoisin sauce
2-3 TBSP of sesame seeds (white or black, I had black so that’s what I used)
1 TBSP butter

In large skillet add butter and green beans. Sauté until beans are tender but not mushy, you still want them a little crunchy. Add hoisin sauce and sesame seeds. Cook for a minute or two and serve.

Glazed Rainbow Carrots

1/2 lb carrots (more if you have more people)
3 TBSP butter
1/2 C Brown sugar
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon

Clean and cut the carrots into coins or bite sized pieces or dice, whatever shape you like. In small sauce pan on low heat add carrots, sugar, cinnamon and butter. Put a lit on the pan and cook over low heat until the carrots are tender. Remove lid and raise heat to reduce sauce to a glaze. Yum-yum.

Now on to Godzilla. Fangirl nation did run my review of Godzilla Cataclysm Issue #4 and here is the link I promised. I have to confess that I totally gave in to my inner squeeing fangirl when writing this review. The truth is that I’m really particularly enjoying these comics and I’ve read quite a few comics in my time. I was, and still am, a huge X-Man fan. As any comic book reader will tell you, there are some stories that stand out and Godzilla Cataclysm is one of them.

Cosplay:

Mothra cosplay

Mothra cosplay

Gratuitous pic of Mothra cosplay with Dirk Benedict

Gratuitous pic of Mothra cosplay with Dirk Benedict


I still need to make some minor adjustments to my Mothra cosplay. I’ve also got a new piece for my steampunk cosplay that I’m very excited to try out at the next comic con I can get to. Honestly I don’t know how I could possibly top my Mothra cosplay and I plan to wear it to a lot of cons.

A New Short Story: Invited and Minor Update on War In Flesh

So I wrote a little short horror story based upon some heavy fictionalization of time I spent in a fundamentalist church. It’s called Invited. Of course all of the characters are fictional and any resemblance to persons living or dead is completely coincidental. I’m really enjoying the short story format. It is as follows:

Invited
By K. L. Zolnoski

Things had been going well, very well. The host had been growing ever more paranoid, fearful and best of all, hateful as Shpofuge slid his narrow, peg-like fingers deeper into her brain. Shpofuge was a demon of the shadows. No one in this world could see him. If they could they would see his ghostly form hunched over her like a miasma, his incorporeal arms curved around and his long, fingers sliding easily through her head into her brain.
Shpofuge fed on malignant emotions. Her fear was fine wine to him but her hate, which grew out of that fear, was ambrosia. Invariably self-righteousness, hypocrisy and pride followed and such were his hors d’oeuvres.
Lies were the best though and did Shelly ever lie. Her whole life was a lie. She was so afraid of getting hurt, thanks to a father who abandoned her and a mother who, as a result, had to work two jobs to provide for her that she had closed herself off from everyone.
Over the years, through Shpofuge’s careful manipulation, she had carried these hurts and held them close to her. She never forgave and never forgot. This gave Shpofuge a permanent pathway into her psyche. No matter how she tried to shake him off or escape his vile influence, he could always count on resentment and bitterness from these injustices to provide access back into the deepest parts of her soul.
Every Sunday Shelly went to church. She dressed modestly and behaved properly. Shpofuge loved the church. Shpofuge especially loved it when the preacher shouted about how all of their works of righteousness were as filthy rags to the most holy. This would throw Shelly into a feedback loop of self-flagellation and self-loathing that fed Shpofuge very well. He would run his long peg fingers over her brain, delicately sensing for the darkest knots of her self-hatred and grow fat.
Shpofuge often silently applauded the preacher, especially when he expounded the evils of questioning, of thinking, of seeking. Those things most reliably led to people escaping the clutches of their demons. That was the last thing Shpofuge wanted.
There was danger though, for Shelly’s husband had died just the day before. Family was gathering for the funeral. That meant the Mystic was coming. Shpofuge would have to be careful lest the Mystic discover him.
Shpofuge spent the night filling Shelly’s dreams with fear. Fear that the Mystic would talk about the abuse she suffered at the hands of Shelly’s husband. It was a dirty secret that Shelly had groomed the Mystic to keep when she was a young child. It was something Shelly felt guilty about and Shpofuge feasted on her guilt and the fear that her secret would be told.
Shpofuge also filled Shelly’s mind with dread that the Mystic, whom Shelly knew saw her for who she truly was, would tell everyone that her whole life was an empty lie. Appearances were everything to Shelly. Appearances always had been everything to Shelly. From the time her father had abandoned her, through her abusive marriage she had sacrificed everything to maintain the appearance of a normal life.
The emptiness of a life built entirely on appearances had consumed Shelly utterly. The emptiness gave Shpofuge plenty of room to hide.
The family came from all corners of the country to support Shelly. Normally the outpouring of love would make Shpofuge leave but this family was different. Many had demons of their own. Some were so filled with hate that Shpofuge could feed on it too, not that he needed to.

Then the Mystic entered the room. To those assembled the Mystic appeared short and a little dumpy. The other demons pounced on the thoughts of, “fat,” and “lazy,” that flickered through their host’s minds. They amplified and fed on the sense of superiority that accompanied them.
To Shpofuge the Mystic shone like the morning sun, the force of her undampened personality causing him to flinch back. Reacting, Shpofuge had Shelly make the first move. A classic manipulative opening gambit, “You can’t play the victim card and expect people to think you are strong.”
This would shut down any potential revelations of the abuse the Mystic suffered. She looked over at Shelly, puzzled. As if she honestly didn’t know why Shelly would say such a thing.
Congratulating himself on catching her off guard, Shpofuge shifted his fingers in Shelly’s brain and pressed the attack. If he could get the Mystic to say something resentful, something accusing, anything that would threaten Shelly’s already destroyed sense of self, he would win.
Instead the Mystic said, “It’s ok. It will be alright.”
Shpofuge hissed. It was as if the Mystic had spoken to the deeper issue, completely ignoring Shelly’s words. Then Shpofuge froze.
The Mystic looked at Shelly, canting her head to one side as if confused. Then understanding telegraphed itself over her expressive face.
The Mystic stepped up to Shelly, barely as tall, and breathed right into her third eye, “Begone.”
Shpofuge shrieked, for one terrible moment his shadowy, disfigured form became visible to all. They would forget, but now they recoiled in horror.
How? How was it possible? Shpofuge had used Shelly’s lies to torment the Mystic for her whole life. The constant gas lighting had nearly driven her insane before she vanished for several years. How could she love Shelly so openly and fearlessly?
It was that love that had driven Shpofuge out. Helpless he watched as the Mystic held out her hand in welcome, offering unconditional love, offering no recriminations, only acceptance. Making herself vulnerable. This would be the end, Shpofuge’s ultimate failure.
Then it happened. Shelly looked full in the face of love and turned to reach out a hand to Shpofuge. He had been invited in of Shelly’s own free will. She was more afraid of being vulnerable to hurt, than his possession. No power would ever be able to banish him. Shpofuge pounced, nearly punching his incorporeal fingers through her in his indecent haste.

**The End**

Also I’ve gotten back to work on War In Flesh and I’m pleased with the direction it is going.

Of Gardening, Bettas, Mystery Snails and Monsters

Gipsy in the coral decoration

Gipsy in the coral decoration

This summer I let my garden lay fallow, which is code for not doing anything with it. My Gunnera was killed in a late freeze in the spring and I never got around to replanting. Work kept me so busy I didn’t get to my garden and after a while the weeds took over.

Fear not! This December we are going to have the trees pruned and then I will prepare my garden for the spring. I am going to plant another Gunnera or two and watch carefully for unseasonal freezes so that they don’t die.

Despite my neglect, the hummingbirds returned and enjoyed the flowers. They nested in the same tree, much to my delight. Next year I will plant even more flowers for them to enjoy.

Degarla, a golden mystery snail, center and Gipsy.

Degarla, a golden mystery snail, center and Gipsy.

I got a Betta this fall to shower with my repressed pet love. I can’t have a cat due to severe allergies. So I now have the most spoilt crown tail Betta on the planet. I named him Gipsy Danger (don’t judge me). I also got two mystery snails to keep Gipsy company and clean the tank. Degarla (named after the monster in The Rebirth of Mothra) is a golden mystery snail and Ebriah (Horror of the Deep: from Godzilla vs Ebriah (the sea monster)) is blue. Again, don’t judge me.

I had no idea that fish had personalities. Gipsy dances for me when he sees me and he breaches to eat bits of thawed pea off my fingers. I found, via the power of Google, that giving a Betta a bit of pea once a week helps keep their little digestive tracts healthy, plus Gipsy loves it.

Gipsy

Gipsy

Also, when naming mystery snails after giant monsters it seems that they take that kind of thing seriously. Degarla has doubled in size since I got him (or her, I can’t tell). Ebriah is taking a bit longer to get huge but is working on it. Everything I read about them said they need supplemental food to be healthy so I picked up some alge discs and give them one per day.

I was appalled by how hungry Ebriah seemed to be when I got him (or her) home. She (or he) ate a whole one by herself. Also Degarla loves to be inside the coral cave decoration I got for them during the day. I took it out to clean it and Degarla tried desperately do dig under some rocks for the day. Gipsy also loves the coral cave decoration. He likes to pretend he’s a moray eel. Ok maybe not but I imagine he might be pretending that when he hides in there and only pokes his little head out. It doesn’t help that he likes to pop the snails off the glass and watch them fall to the bottom of the tank.

Ebriah, a blue mystery snail, playing in the plant.

Ebriah, a blue mystery snail, playing in the plant.

Gipsy takes his name to heart too. He’s kind of a jerk to the monster named snails. Perhaps it wasn’t the best idea to name my Betta after a giant Kaiju hunting Jaeger and then name my snails after Kaiju.

Speaking of Kaiju, my review of Godzilla Cataclysm Issue #4 will be published on Fangirlnation. Look for it there. Rest assured I will provide a link. I’m also reading the graphic novel of Godzilla The Half Century War. I’m about a quarter of a century into it. K.