Tuesday, May 7, 2013

The Most Unexpectedly Bittersweet Thing You'll See Today

This post is the beginning of a series about my favorite YouTubers. I promise they won't all be about spiders.

I dislike spiders. Immensely. I have blogged about my hatred in the past. Last fall, I went to a reptile show with D-Rock, and it seemed like everybody there had fucking deli containers overflowing with goddamned tarantulas.

What kind of insane person voluntarily brings something like this into their home? I wondered judgmentally as we wandered the aisles. I overheard a guy talking about preferring one breed of tarantula to another, saying, "Yeah, with these they don't shoot those little hairs off. Those can really irritate your skin, so if you're planning to handle it, you need to get a guy like this." WTF, who would handle a spider?

These people:

This is TarantulaGuy1976's channel. I don't know exactly how I wound up there, because I fucking hate spiders. But I did wind up there, and I watched a ton of his videos. Why? Because I got sucked into the saga of a molt gone wrong.

Over the course of six videos, TarantulaGuy1976 documents his care for a spider that he obviously cares about very much. I started watching in the middle, when he surgically removed the hardened shell that the spider couldn't dislodge on its own. Then I went back and watched from the beginning.  I still can't believe how invested I became in his struggle to save his pet, an animal which I would, under normal circumstances, happily daydream about beating to death with a shovel.

It's not about the animal, though. It's about this guy, who clearly has an amazingly open heart if he can connect with something as ooky as a giant spider, and his devotion and care. I know people who haven't treated their elderly relatives with as much loving respect as he shows for the tarantula.

The strangest thing is, his tenderness toward this spider has changed my view of them, somewhat. Now, I'm not about to run out and adopt one of Satan's fuzziest abominations for my very own, but I'm not quite as creeped out by them as I was before. And I was, unfairly, stereotyping "spider people" as weirdos, another ignorant assumption of mine that this guy blew all to smithereens.

If you have some time to kill- and you don't mind watching what amounts to the spider equivalent of a dog tragedy movie- watch these videos after the jump.








46 comments:

  1. All those pics of spiders made me want to hide under my covers. But now I'm scared there are spiders under there.

    When's the next 50 SOG recap coming? It's been more than a week, and I'm feinding. Lol.

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  2. I don't own any arachnids, but I do own and work with a couple species of reptiles and am often labeled a weirdo. I'm always happy to see when people open up their hearts to them, even if it's just a little!

    Love your blog, by the way!

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  3. Aww :) Spiders are most welcome in our house but I do understand insect phobias. I'm terrified of daddy-long-legs. The British sort I mean, I think the name refers to something else in the States.

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    1. I'm not terrified of them, but I fucking hate them all the same. When they're on the wall on the floor they're fine, but when they start jumping about and flying and looking for your face *vom*

      Also, slugs make me retch until I gag. Spiders I can live with, but slugs? There's still 10 minutes of the Chamber of Secrets I can't watch because Ron has those things. In his MOUTH. *majorvomsession*

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    2. YES. They do just seem determined to fly in my face and they make this hideous buzzing sound when they lie in wait for me under my duvet :( [/trauma]

      I had a panic attack at my cousin's wedding because of them. Marquees in September are not safe places for me!

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    3. They used to breed around my high school and stick to the doors. I went to an all girls school, that was like an endurance test for everyone to make it in the doors.

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    4. My spider "phobia" was picked up from my mother. Because girls are "suppose" to be scared of spiders and snakes and all that BS. And I was misinformed that all the orb weavers around our house were banana spiders and highly venomous and aggressive.

      I eventually grew out of it (thank god).

      The American version of daddy-long-legs were fine though, because my mom grew up playing with them or what have you so she wasn't scared of them.

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    5. What does 'Daddy long-legs' refer to in the US? I've not heard about that before.

      It may be of use to you to read up on spiders from a biological and evolutionary standpoint, get to understand them that way. I bring up this point because of two reason: 1) I believe that if you look closely enough, and long enough, at a given subject, you'll either go insane or find the subject absolutely interesting. I've found this to hold true for nearly all subjects. Except knitting. I didn't find knitting interesting at all - and I didn't go crazy. Isn't that right, Mungo? *Growls and drools* Mhmm, that's right. Eat the spiderses. Yummy legses. Use the fangs as toothpickses. Must find Precious so I don't have to bathe. Mmmm. Mwahahahahahahaha!

      Ahem. The second point is from another experience. A while ago I read On The Origin of Species, and ever since then I've developed a fascination with wild flowers, birds and insects. Whereas before, I wouldn't give such things a second thought, now I capture the little insects - such as spiders - and try to identify them, and then read up on them until I've quite exhausted my reference books. You know, before I squash them. 'Cause they may be interesting, but they're still spiders. Did you know that most spiders in the UK are venomous, but most have such small fangs that they can't break the skin? And did you know that there are only two species of poisonous snake in the world, and - to the best of my knowledge - there are no poisonous species of spider? A few tribes in South America often hunt tarantulas for food, and do indeed use the fangs as toothpicks.

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    6. In the US daddy long legs is a small, harmless spider that lurks in ceiling corners: http://www.findaspider.org.au/find/spiders/images/508A10.jpg

      What you guys are calling daddy long legs looks like what I'd probably call a mayfly.

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    7. I think their other name is a crane fly?

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    8. Ah, cheers for that, MBD. And yes, it's a crane fly.

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    9. I'm in Texas and have lived in the south my whole life. The crane fly is NOT what we call a daddy long legs spider. I looked it up and what we Southerners call a daddy long legs is actually called a Harvestman spider, which is not really a spider at all.

      The info I found said that people in the Northern USA, Canada and the UK call crane flies daddy long legs. Interesting.

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    10. In Western Canada we call harvestman spiders "daddy long legs" and crane flies "mosquito eaters".

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  4. I will happily pick up a snake or a beetle the size of my hand, but am absolutely terrified of spiders. That being said, I admit that I cried after watching Update #6. Poor Sammy, it's obvious that her owners consider her a much-loved pet. She's a spider, but she's a member of their family.

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  5. Plenty of people don't understand my love of animals, in general, so I can't judge.

    Since I became vegetarian, my respect for all forms of life has amplified. I used to have the philosophy that if a spider was in my house, it died. Now I catch them with s glass and paper and put them outside. I accidentally stepped on a snail months ago and I'm still traumatized.

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  6. Way to make me absolutely bawl over spiders, this guy's love and tenderness for his pet was what made me feel so deeply for him. I'm so sorry he lost his pet.

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  7. He gives her a drink? That's so cute. it's no fun losing a pet whether it be a dog, cat, snake, spider, or whatever. And you likened it to a dog tragedy movie. I don't think I can bear to watch.

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  8. I have a Chilean Rose Hair Tarantula http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chilean_rose_tarantula (What's not to love about a pink spider?), and this breaks my heart.

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    Replies
    1. That little bb is adorable. If I didn't basically aspire to living in my car all the time, I'd have to find one. awww .<3

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  9. Creepy ass spiders AND dog-tragedy-esque sadness? OMG. There's no way. Forget Halloween or Saw - THIS is my version of a horror movie.

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  10. Whoa, this is weird. I watched these videos a month or two ago, and I was so moved by them that I decided to create a whole story around a character who breeds spiders and snakes for a living. And he has a tenant who lives next door who HATES spiders, but is moved by the fact that the landlord cares so much for his.

    I've always kind of loved jumping spiders, even if I'm "meh" on other types. There are people who take very close shots of jumper spiders, and one person even put little drops of water on their heads, like little hats. So funny. Their mating dance is pretty hilarious too.

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    Replies
    1. Jumping Spiders! Yay the teddy bear of spiders, I love them also. So adorable. Years ago before I knew what they were (officially) I had a 'pet' jumping spider, well he adopted me and my computer screen. He would sit on the wall and watch me work and get closer, finally one day he was on the desk, then next he was on my computer screen chasing the cursor around. Didn't even know what he was other than he seemed so friendly and curious. Finally I googled "small curious spider" and there he was. Jumping Spider.

      But then I love spiders period because I live in ANT country and the spiders help keep the ant population down (along with the Terro) so yeah spiders are my friends.

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  11. Wow, I'm actually a bit teary-eyed. That was the most nail-biting series of youtube videos I've ever seen. Every pet should have an owner as loving as Sammy's.

    I think there's a bit of a writing lesson here: if you care about something then so will your audience, no matter what it is.

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  12. I can agree w/ the person above that says people can't understand his/hers love of animals.

    I like animals probably more than I like people. As I'm getting older, the more traumatized I get when I accidently kill something.
    I even have a hard time killing a bee that I know is dying (as I see them crawling...) It breaks my heart.I usually bury all the small insects/animals that I find dead or were killed by my cats.

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  13. That was very moving. Felt so bad for the guy and for the spider. Now I have to go Google about tarantulas and wet molts....

    I'm not a fan of spiders, but I'm not terrified of them, either. Centipedes on the other hand, I will scream my fool head off if one of those comes near me.

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  14. OMG. YES! I've been there with my chickens, cats and my other non-traditional pets. The "Shit is happening to MY BABY(!!) and there's nothing I can do! AHHH! What do I DO?!" is universal in the world of critter babies. And yes, it's very clear these spiders are their babies.

    Think the most reason why I'm not that into pets like mice/rats and insects/bugs is because 1- just never thought of them that way, and 2- their life spans are short. Though I did recently find out that hiss cockroaches can live 5/10 years when cared for.

    Mice/rats only live for two years- three years in some cases but the last year of their lives are pretty painful and ugly to watch. I would imagine the same for insect/spider pets. So yeah, having to go though this level of emotion fairly often over my baby? Yeah... I did that with my chickens and it sucked every time (because they are a "food" animal, not a pet and my parents had a very "It's just a pet" and "humans are more important" mind set. Which sucked in its own way).

    I can argue that if a spider can not molt on its own, it's screwed because in the wild- it would be weakened and vulnerable and at some point you need to let the emotions/attachment go (I say as a chicken lover who had very little to zero support and sympathetic resources).

    BUT this is a pet, this is some one's baby. We humans do stupid, well meaning things for our babies. Not that I'm re-living any pet guilt at the pets lost to not knowing any better and though trial and error mistakes. :/

    You go for the hear, Jenny. You go straight for the heart.

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    Replies
    1. Heart. You, knife, right into my heart reminding me I have FEELINGS.

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    2. Female tarantulas can live 30 years if things go right (boys only live 4-6). Unfortunately, the older they get, the harder it can be to molt for them.

      I keep fish, and I have an axolotl. The fish I'm attached to have 10-20 year life spans (I've had my Synodontis for 5 years)and my axolotl can live in that same 10-20 year span. Kind of like dogs, really.

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    3. My newts (before I had chickens, I had newts) lived for what felt like forever- barring sickness and cage escape. Chickens can live for 10-12 years if they don't get sick or eaten by marauders.

      30 years...wow. Pretty damn cool. I'm use to the cheap "get your child a 99 cent gold fish before you invest in a dog" kinds of fish.

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    4. Goldfish can actually live in the 30 year range. Koi up to 50.

      Of course they don't live that long in a fishbowl.

      Newts are really cute. I like completely aquatic guys (which is why I have an axolotl)-don't have to feed them crickets or roaches. :D

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    5. I think the record for Goldfish was 42 years! I always say that you should aim for ten- any less and something is really wrong :) I've also thought that any living animal should sell for more than a dollar, otherwise they become easily replaceable!

      Betelgeuse, you get a million internet points for correctly spelling axolotl :D

      Ah, I have to agree with you on the rats front. I'm still upset at the loss of my girls- and they lived to five years (one of them with a permanent sniffling disability). I can't imagine only getting to love them for 2 years :(

      I've always had a little bit of a soft spot for unusual pets, but these videos made me so emotional. Jenny nailed it when she said that this guy probably treats his spiders more delicately than some people treat the elderly. We need you to breed more compassionate humans, spider guy!

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  15. That fucking NOISE it makes when it moves. God, it makes my insides shrivel.

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    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. OH MY GOD WHAT HAPPENS WHEN A PLAYER RUNS OUT OF RACE TOKENS

      YOU CAN'T JUST LEAVE US HANGING LIKE THAT

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  17. Come prepared with hot dogs and buns, as the chalets are equipped with a barbeque and shower facilities as well.

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    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Compassion: it's hot dogs and double-faced cans.

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      Delete
  18. That was so sad!
    I just cried for a spider. Jesus.
    Damn you, Trout! *feelings*

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  19. I'm one of those spider-loving weirdos myself. I've never had a pet tarantula, but I'd like to. This was really sad. :(

    ReplyDelete
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    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Your second step-daughter loves to hide in dark corners, and that
      creeps you the fuck out.

      My homepage - google.com.

      Delete
  21. I read my hubby the part aout the guy connecting with the spider. He said that he could connect too.... with his size 15 tennis shoe. And if it wasn't dead after that he was gonna hawl ass.

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  22. OK, well a tarantula stuck in its own molt is possibly the grossest thing I've seen in a while, but I have to admit there were parts where she was kinda cute, especially when waving her legs! Was genuinely upset when she died (even though you told us it was coming). That guy is so sweet, what a lovely couple.

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