We’re Famous!

I have to say that I think it’s pretty cool that pictures of my buddy Tomek and I are all over the new InnerSpace Systems website! We both took the class from Leon in March, and a bunch of the photos that they took of us in the pool showed up on the official ISC site. You can’t see our faces, but it’s pretty cool none-the-less.

Gas Blending Disaster

I will never suggest that a person refrain from messing around with something because it is dangerous. I have always held the belief that given proper respect for the lives of those around them, people should be left free to do their best, or worse as the case may be.

That being said, this article about a diver who, while filling scuba tanks, more or less burned his house down with an oxygen fire really shows us why it is important to be careful when handling high pressure oxygen.

I guess this guy was blending NITROX and the line caught fire. He wasn’t able to get the tank shut down before the whole place went up in flames. From what the article tells us, he was blending the gas himself because he didn’t hold a cert for it, and couldn’t buy it at dive shops. I guess he’d also been known to boost steel tanks up to 4500 psi with pure oxygen.

There are a lot of people out there holding this as an example of why nobody should be blending their own gas. I think this mindset is ridiculous! I frequently blend my own NITROX and TRIMIX, but I’m constantly mindful about the presence of hydrocarbons and adiabatic heating. I can’t say I would boost pure oxygen to 4500 psi, but there is absolutely no reason that divers can’t safely handle high pressure oxygen and blend their own gasses.

Oxygen Fire

Oxygen Fire


Cute Koi Pictures

Last Winter, I bought a nice sanke female from Keirin Koi while I was at the Central Florida Koi Show in Orlando Florida. This is the smaller one in the pictures below, with persimmon (more orange) red and the stepping-stone sumi pattern. Even though the red is not as crimson as most Americans tend to like, she still won first-place for sanke in size three. Her name is Rei, and she is incredibly personable and frindly. She comes from the breeder Momotaro.

You can’t quarantine koi by themselves because they get lonely and sulk, so when I brought her home, I had to find a friend for her. I’ve been really into sanke lately, so I decided to find another one to keep her company in the quarantine tank over the winter. That’s where the larger male koi with the brighter red came into the picture. His name is Shinji and he is from the Ogata koi farm.

These two have been a riot. They’re koi, so of course they are always poking their noses out of the water looking for food whenever they hear someone. They both eat readily from my hand, are happy to keep me company while I’m in the basement. They are in a 1,000 gallon tank which is filtered by an Aquadyne 1.1 bead filter. Every week I change out 100 gallons of water to keep the NitrAtes down, and I keep the system at a constant 61 degrees Fahrenheit.

For those wondering about the names, yes, I am a big fan of the anime series Neon Genesis Evangelion.

Hungry Koi

Hungry Koi


2005 New England Bonsai Show

Last Saturday, New England Bonsai Gardens held their annual Fall members day and bonsai show. For years now I’ve been attending this event, but it was only this year that I finally decided to enter my best tree into the show. I’ve owned the Japanese Maple I entered for six years now, and have taken a number of private tutorials with John Romano and Kenji Miyata to get the tree where it is today.

Going into the show, I had very high hopes for my tree to do well. After all the scores were tallied, however, I received no awards. Reading the score sheet I was extremely interested to find that my tree scored quite low on surface roots, which are known as nebari. I was surprised not only because the nebari on the tree is quite pronounced and prominent, but because I had always felt that the surface roots were one of the strongest points about the specimen.

Talking with the judges, I discovered that, while the nebari is nice where it is present, there are not enough surface roots surrounding the trunk to create an overall pleasing effect. Because the tree has only one truly pronounced surface root, it gives the impression of a “foot” and not the general effect of age and strength found in trees with truly exquisite nebari.

Nebari, being one of the most difficult features of a tree to develop, is a major factor when selecting bonsai for the purposes of show. In many cases, the Japanese, always looking to the future, will select a tree based almost entirely on the quality of its nebari and resolve whatever other aesthetic problems the tree has by pruning and wiring over time.

To resolve my tree’s nebari problems, I will need to do the following:

Year 1: Root cuttings from the tree
Year 2-3: Grow out cuttings
Year 4: Graft cuttings to base of trunk
Year 4-5: Allow graft to take
Year 5: Bury grafts, remove foliage, and get them to sprout roots
Year 6-Futire: Grow out roots and let them grow bark

Gallery Update: 2005 New England Bonsai Show

Gallery Update: The 2005 New England Bonsai Show

Album Inlcudes

66 photos

All trees entered in the show

Photos of Master Kenji Miyata doing Extreme Bonsai Makovers

Photos of the Japanese Maple I entered into the show

Fish Supposedly Washed Up By Asian Tsunami

Last December one of the largest earthquakes in recorded history (measuring 9 on the Richter Scale), struck just off Sumatra, Indonesia, in a fault line running deep under the water. The rupture caused massive tsunamis, that hurtled away from the epicenter, reaching shores as far away as Africa.

A few days after the disaster, a friend and fellow fishkeeper sent me an e-mail containing a number of images depicting strange, deep-water fish that were supposedly washed up by onto shore by the huge waves and cataloged by scientists.

Although these are, in fact, genuine images of some very strange deep-sea creatures, these photographs have nothing to do with the Indian Ocean tsunami. They date from mid-2003 and were taken by researchers on the NORFANZ voyage, a joint Australian-New Zealand research expedition conducted in May-June 2003 to explore deep sea habitats and biodiversity in the Tasman Sea. These photographs can be viewed on Australia’s National Oceans Office web site.

While I hate to see these creatures dragged up from the abyss, I am very much a “deep junky”, and take great delight in learning more about marine life from the murky depths. Mostly, it is for this reason that I have developed such a strong interest in both powered and unpowered DIY ROV technology.