Earth, Fish and Fire

So far, the fish are still alive.

Despite my not liking pets a great deal, because they usually fall to me to take care of, I got my youngest son (by two minutes) a fish tank for Christmas, and I did it up right. 20 gallon tank, with filter, decorations (ornaments, tinsel, ribbon), gravel and stones. I filled it with water, added the chemicals (dihydrous monoxide) and ran the filter for two days (Talk Like A Pirate Day and Arbor Day) (Get it? ARRRRRRRRRbor Day?). Then I took my son and selected and added 6 fish. The maximum fish I could add to a new tank, according to the experts at the fish place (Red Lobster).

I then followed the regimen of tank maintenance – removing and replacing 10% of the water per week, and 25% of the water per month, and vacuuming the gravel (starring Christian Slater), and all that. And all 6 fish are still somehow alive. For me, this is an accomplishment comparable to juggling. Not juggling chain saws, but juggling balls, and I’ll take it.

Oh, and on that note, my kids are still alive too! (Alas, I cannot juggle the kids.) I’m doing pretty well. I suppose I had some help from my wife with the kids. So thanks, honey!

(So far, I’m still alive.)

On THAT note, two days ago the pilot light went out on the water heater, or ‘hot water heater’ if you’re an employee of the Department of Redundancy Department. Fortunately I received this information secondhand, as opposed to firstentirebody. I started thinking of the complete principle of the pilot light.

It’s a small trickle of flaming, burning gas that is always raging right there, burning, on fire in the middle of your house, ready to burst into flame at a moment’s notice. That seems insane to me. Completely mental! Aside from gas always being on and on fire, it could gas the whole house if it is NOT on fire. When fire is preferable to no fire, there might be something wrong.

See, I have a grill that runs on propane. I turn on the gas at the tank, then turn on the burner, then hit this spark-making thing and the gas ignites. Can you imagine a scenario where the grill is always on fire? No, I mean besides when you’re cooking. Insane, right? So why do we have that in our house? I don’t know. The furnace isn’t even like that. It has no pilot light. Instead, it works just like the gas grill. (I don’t have to push the spark button – it does that automatically using tiny fireflies and magic.) Your car doesn’t have something burning all the time. It starts only when you need it. So why the fuck do we have pilot lights? It’s not like there’s no power to make a spark – the water heater itself is plugged in! It just seems stupid and backwards to me, not to mention dangerous.

You might think I’m only bitching because the pilot light on my water heater is difficult to light, and it took me 10 minutes to light, not including the 20 minutes of looking for matches, but nope, I’m concerned with safety! Also, with the possibility of some collusion between the gas company and the water heater manufacturers.

It’s lit now. The shower was plenty warm. Thanks for asking.

Edward Hotspur

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107 thoughts on “Earth, Fish and Fire

  1. Relighting pilot lights scares the heck out of me, even the ones in the range/stove. I just call apartment management. If I had a house, I am sure the gas company would have no problem doing it for a “convenience fee”.

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