Archive for February 2015

The Happiness Of Owning A Fish

Hello everyone, I'd like to introduce my blog readers to my new friend, Oscar. He is a baby-blue Betta. I rescued him from a teeny plastic tub at the store and put him in this high-tech underwater paradise. It was kind of expensive. I believe the grand total of the whole venture was right around $70-ish. With hindsight at my side, I think it was worth it.

Ever been to a bonfire? Did you notice how hypnotizing the fire was? For some
reason you can't look away and you don't really want to. You find yourself perfectly contented to just sit there in silence, watching the flames move about. Owning a fish, or at least a betta, has a similar effect. I love watching him swim around his tank. I couldn't even say why. He's happy and pretty, and I can't look away.

Since documenting this journey in my daily vlog, I've heard a repeat of the same phrase; fish are a lot of work. As I sit right now, I have to disagree. I feed him twice a day, turn his tank light on and off, and that's basically all the required work I've had for the last three days. I do need to add about an inch of water to his tank and in a few months, I'll have to disassemble the whole thing for cleaning. Even with that considered, it's not a lot of work. My dog requires
more effort in one day than this fish will in a month. I'm sure I'll be griping when it comes time to clean, but I'll have several easy and happy months to look forward to after.

This isn't my first time owning bettas either. I owned two a long while back. One red female and one blue male; Lucy and Ricky. I had them for a long time and they both died in the same year. It broke my heart and I swore off fish for years.

Back then I thought they were a lot of work, but I also didn't have filters on the
tanks. Which meant I had to clean often. This time I made sure that Oscar's tank came with a good filter. Live and learn.

As I write this post, I spend most of the time watching Oscar. He likes to stick
near the water's surface and likes dashing in between all the nooks and crannies. Oscar is probably the most curious fish I've ever seen. He watches me constantly. He's like a child shoving his face against the glass. I know he's watching me because he'll follow me. He's just as curious about me as I am of him. I think that's what I love best about him--all that personality.

If you're interested in seeing me buy Oscar and make a home for him, I suggest starting here: Meet Oscar! (Vlog #258). This is the day he enters my family and
in the day that follows I build his tank. They're good little videos, you'll be entertained ;-D

Cake Books VS The Great American Novel

I'm not writing the "Great American Novel". I'll just be upfront. I'm not.

But I found myself wondering, do I want to? Great American Novels are held up on pedestals. They're read in high schools everywhere. They win prestigious awards and, not to mention, a permanent place in bookstores. We know many by name; The Great Gatsby, Gone With The Wind, To Kill A Mockingbird, and so on. They are the pinnacle of literature.

Why? I honestly don't know. I've tried to read classics and I just can't. They're wordy. Ever read the first paragraph in Treasure Island? It's actually one very long sentence. The second paragraph, I think, adds up to two very long sentences. Treasure Island is not a "GAN", btw, it's just considered great literature. But for my point to this blog post, it really doesn't matter.

When I read, I want to get lost. I want to be swept up and taken on an adventure. The books that fill my bookshelves--The stories that I love so much it sometimes hurts--aren't considered Great American Novels, or even great literature. They're fantasy and romance. They're sci-fi and dystopian. They're Harry Potter AND Twilight.

To me all of these books are great literature. Some because they're beautifully written and some because they made me feel things in wonderfully profound ways. I would trade all of the Gone With The Winds in the world for my books--Yes, that includes Twilight.

Still, I see the accolades given to the Great American Novels and I wonder...Is that what I should be writing? Should that be my goal? Are the books I'm working on lesser in comparison?

I contemplated this for several days, wondering at the values applied to classic literature and Cake Books. Cake Book, btw, is a term I made up. It's a term I apply to books that are filled with all the good things. Just like cake. I wouldn't consider Harry Potter a cake book either. It's too serious and dark as the series goes on. Twilight I probably would consider a Cake Book. Mostly, I call adult romances Cake Books. They're usually light and leave me smiling. They're also usually considered trash by the general public.

I don't feel this way. Cake Books have brought me far more joy than any Great American Novel ever has. They inspire me to be happy and to seek happiness. I hope to someday write these books. Mostly because I think it would be fun. It's freakin cake! What isn't fun about cake?!

So bringing this article back to its original purpose--Is the Great American Novel better than a Cake Book? The answer is no. A book's reason for existing is to take you away; help you experience something new. They're meant to give you joy, make you laugh, and even break your heart. A book, any book, that can do this is great literature.

We shouldn't be ashamed for reading Cake Books, or for writing them. Let society hold up its GANs, like they're the prize sheep of the herd. I'd still rather read Twilight :)