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My attempt to breed pink (or yellow! or green!) pest snails ground to a halt when the tank became infested with a pest which ate all the snail eggs. Old snails were dying, but no new ones were hatching out. I cleared them out once, but the pests survived and thrived. Putting in fluke-killing poison did nothing.

I intended to pretty much clear the old tank out and start again, or maybe not start again, I didn't know. My health got even worse, so I put it off, feeding the few remaining snails only very occasionally, since I had no reason now to even care if they demolished the plants. The tank has squatted gloomily in a corner of the room for a year or so.

Today, I had another look at the tank and saw baby snails! I also can't see any pests. Even the nitrite levels are below their usual dark-pink 'instant death for fish' levels - the test tube is only faintly pink. I've added more filter start and shall leave the tank alone for another month or two.

Now all I have to do is find a glitter pen so I can write up the character sheet for the next game, where I will be playing Prettymage Sparklesocks (the name translated into elven, naturally)
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Twitter gives you everything at once, so today I am getting Valentine's Day poems intertwined with protests in Iran and reports of a bombing in Kabul. This mixture of the violent with the banal is always there, but it's especially noticeable today.

I've downloaded and installed f.lux, which 'warms' the colours of your screen at sunset, so that your brain doesn't get the 'blue' signals that keep telling you it's mid-afternoon when you're browsing before going to bed. In theory, it helps insomnia. Even if it's entirely woo, it probably does help insomnia. The placebo effect can be very marked. And it's free, so I am trying it.

I cleaned out my snail tank yesterday, and killed off all the dark ones (by donating them to Random to feed to her Assassin snails), keeping the lighter ones which, by now, are a dark caramel colour. I started off with only slightly speckled black snails, so I am heartened by this change in only the third generation. My aim for pink snails within three years seems possible. Unfortunately, I forgot to clean out the shower tray last night, so when I had a shower, I ended up treading on a nice crunchy floor of very tiny snail shells and dry salt.

Spice seems by now thoroughly at home. My body is covered in scratches and contusions. There is no malice in Spice at all, but she can be clumsy and mistake parts of me for the floor or a toy. My left arm has very deep bruised punctures from when she hauled herself up on what she thought was the top of the mattress. Then, when I play with her, I am clumsy as well and run into things. Frankly, it's worth it for the purrs.
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I've culled all my dullest snails and kept those with lighter or more rufous markings. I'm now down from several hundred snails to about two dozen. Given the sheer number of eggs I destroyed, I'd have had over a thousand within a fortnight. The rotting plants have been taken out, the living plants put back and the tank water is clear again instead of murky green.

More people in my friendslist are dropping Livejournal and switching to Dreamwidth. I gather livejournal have been doing something even nastier with advertising, while Dreamwidth have just brought out a whole load of new features. I do like the way DW ask 'what do you think?' and take it all on board.

The weather continues sunny. It's very, very odd, at least for the North Wet of England it is. We're getting drought warnings. I like having the windows wide open and listening to birdsong all day. It's especially sweet when Moth's curled up under my right hand and occasionally prodding me in the midriff as a reminder to keep stroking her head. Poor Pol is going to be melting.

This article from last week offers a picture of how racism is affecting people in the British workplace today. To quote: Blatant racism is still far too prevalent in the workplace: more than a fifth still said they had been offended by a racial remark in their place of work. Chinese were the most egregious victims with 35% citing an example, followed by a quarter of Pakistanis.
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I bet Random that I couldn't breed pink (or yellow, but pink would be ideal) snails from her unwanted collection of pest snails, so I snagged a dozen, set them up in a bucket and then a tank, and now I have a hundred or so. Another couple of months and I can have another cull to end up with the ones closest to my desired colour. It's slow going, but as three-year-projects go, it's fun and easy.

I'm playing Caesary on Kongregate. It's a 'free' game which wants *way* too much money to get ahead (having three builders instead of one would cost me about £3 *per week*), but it does manage to at least be perfectly fun to play even with only the free stuff. If options cost less, I'd probably already have thrown money at it. Instead, everything costs about twice what I consider reasonable. Good game, though.

I finally got around to watching Francesco's Venice and it's astonishing. I didn't realise that Enrico Dandalo, Doge of Venice basically hijacked the entire Fourth Crusade to go and sack Constantinople (then a Christian city) as revenge for their soldiers blinding him a few decades before when he was merely Venice's foremost merchant. Now that's a grudge. It also, finally, makes sense for me of why Byzantium got sacked at all. 'For the money' didn't quite cut it for me, although Venice did take many, many treasures back (and used them to encrust St Mark's Basilica, which holds the remains of St Mark, which were also stolen, this time from Alexandria).

Oh, and look up the Venetian voting system some time. I am trying to imagine it being made into a board game - randomly get nine cards and use them to trade for forty tokens, then roll dice to get 25 of those, and so on and so on. At the end, you have a single Doge, but nobody's quite sure how.

I just want to know when and how Venetians set up the British Civil Service.


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May 2014

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