I would like to start out by saying that I love thrift stores, second hand stores, flea markets, and antique stores. Shopping at them is like treasure hunting, but without the dirt and mummies and flesh-eating scarabs. My most recent trip to such a store scored me the bargain of a lifetime-- a new house for Jomo, my beloved mountain horned dragon! 
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Ain't he cute?
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That's my boy, Stark, to the side.

And no, it wasn't a glass tank-- it was this. An Ikea, um, cabinet. I guess a normal person would keep plates, wine glasses, or collectible paperweights in it. The first thing that I thought was, "This would be a perfect house for Jomo!!" You can blame the members of HerpCenter.com for that. They were the ones who planted the reptile-obsession seed in my brain. They appealed to my inner bargain shopper by mentioning that old entertainment centers, glass cabinets, and similar furniture make awesome reptile enclosures and are usually 1/4 the price of a glass tank. Knowing this, I bought this sucker for $40. A tank for a reptile of this size would usually run somebody about $250-$300. Yikes! (The cords at the bottom belonged to the crappy little light installed in the top. We sawed that part off to make room for mesh, anyway. )

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I think taping is the worst part about painting.

Welcome to the garage, which now eternally smells like paint and Kilz. This is the first stage of the operation.  The top is sawed off and the inside is cured with Kilz (basically, "cover your bathroom with this if you don't want no nasty mold on yo' walls"). We (my boyfriend and I) weren't too worried about being tidy at all: there's smears everywhere and little lines on the inside of the glass. It's a good thing lizards aren't known for being particularly snobbish when it comes to the aesthetic paint job of their enclosure. At least this is what we're hoping. Sorry, Jomo, your new mansion isn't a work of art. 

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Pay no attention to the car in the reflection!


And hey, look, paint! We chose a nice shade of DeviantArt-Green. Sort of grey, sort of green, the perfect color to imitate a misty tropical rain forest. It's also left over paint from my parents' kitchen remodel, and it was either this or a pale cream. (Like I said: I'm a bargain shopper. "Free" is the ultimate bargain.) At any rate, the paint job is pretty much done here. We globbed* paint into the cracks and seams to seal it up. Since Jomo is a tropical kind of guy, he likes it really damp. We had to make it water tight to keep the humidity high. I'm sure my mother also appreciates our efforts as well. ("What, that small fungi garden growing in the corner of my room by Jomo's tank? It's for... um... Biology. Yeah. It's an experiment. Not because his house leaks. No sir.") 

*Technical painting term. 

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We were watching George Carlin.
Oooooh! Now it's in my room! Pardon the mess. Here the mesh top and lamp are installed, the paint is dry, and all that's left to do is put stuff in it! 
But first: A Gruesome Tale
I had just finished cutting up the mesh cover and was taking the remnants out to show dad. I was just going to ask him if it was recyclable or not. As I was gesturing to the mesh-- freshly cut and very sharp-- and not half a second after dad said, "don't hurt yourself", I found that I had a piece of wire stuck in my finger. Literally, stuck. It wouldn't budge. I stumbled into the garage, dumped the mesh into the recycle can, and felt woozy. I guess it was then I decided to tell everyone I got a piece of wire lodged in my finger. I'm turning this into such a hyperbole, really, but believe me when I say that I yanked that sucker right out of my finger. It was deep in there, too, and it hurt. But now I can say that I spilled blood for this project. That is dedicated pet ownership right there. 

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Woohoo! After countless afternoons spent in lieu of studying, the Jomo house is complete. Over the course of its preparation, my boyfriend came up with the name "The Reptangle" for it. Reptile + rectangle = best name ever. This is after putting the shelf and water dish in. I propped his sticks inside it and wove the bendable vine around... 
It holds humidity quite well. I am so pleased. Before this, Jomo was stuck in a 20 gallon tank, wider than it was tall. For a tropical arboreal lizard, this was like living in a bathroom. A really crappy bathroom. To give him climbing room, I nailed sticks and vines to the wall next to his tank, but that let all of the humidity leak out. I'm really happy that Jomo now has a humidity-rich, nice and tall, custom built enclosure to live in. His skin will be healthier, his appetite will increase, and he'll probably live a lot longer. Hooray! 

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He started climbing around as soon as we put him inside.
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Those humidity and temperature readings are music to my ears... er... something like that. That thing that looks like toast in the water is a rock to hold down the airstone.
Thank you, thrift store, for having what we needed to give Jomo a better home. I have a feeling he'll be a much happier and healthier lizard from here on out. And he'll hopefully cause me less stress! With his conditions in better shape, I won't have to worry about his dwindling appetite or flaky skin. Things are looking up in Jomo's world. ♥
 
 
I often take photos of weird or interesting things and keep a few on the memory card and upload them all at once. Here's some. :) 
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This watermelon is BEAUTIFUL! Look at those weird swirlies! My mom was cutting it up and took it in to show me. It's not altered at all, just pure, natural beauty. =D I love nature!
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These photos are a series taken once every day of the same pinecone. I picked it up one day on a walk in my neighborhood and since then it's expanded. I think it was the change in temperature from the colder outside to my room. I want to animate these images somehow, if anyone can, I'd love that! :D
Anyway, there's my little contribution to Earth Day. I love this day of the year because it sort of reminds everyone to be more friendly towards our planet. It's hard to keep up being environmentally conscious, but Earth Day reminds us to stay vigilant. At least it does for me.  
Heck, the way I see it, our planet is the only one we've got. At the rate we're consuming and growing, all of the usable materials will be gone soon. I'd like to preserve the planet so that future generations can enjoy the beauty it has to offer. Like the watermelon, or the pine cone. Simple things are beautiful, and the Earth excels at beauty. 
 
 
Well, here I am in a new spot. Easier to find, easier to link to, and no annoying URL. Hopefully. 
All of the previous archives are still going to be at EccentricEscapade.blogspot.com, but from now on new posts will be posted here at www.marandart.com. For some reason, having my name in a URL always feels so... surreal. "Only movie stars and famous people have their own webiste!" Ooooooh! 
Anywho, expect some more updates on the site. And probably like, 10 more layout changes. (None of these premade ones seem to do it for me...) 
I'm hoping this new layout will inspire me to be more punctual with creating art, updating my blog, and stocking the Etsy. :) We'll find out!! Between this "Your Answer Wasn't Correct Enough" Biology class and my Sleep-Inducing Environmental Science class, hopefully my Internet life and art career won't be set on the shelf. Here's hoping!! 


--Maranda