HAMSTERS & HEROIN: Not all junkies are purse-snatching grandmother-killing psychos. I'm keeping this blog to bear witness to that fact.


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I used to take heroin at every opportunity, for over 10 years, now I just take methadone which supposedly "stabilizes" me though I feel more destabilized than ever before despite having been relatively well behaved since late November/early December 2010... and VERY ANGRY about this when I let it get to me so I try not to.

I was told by a mental health nurse that my heroin addiction was "self medication" for a mood disorder that has recently become severe enough to cause psychotic episodes. As well as methadone I take antipsychotics daily. Despite my problems I consider myself a very sane person. My priority is to attain stability. I go to Narcotics Anonymous because I "want what they have" ~ Serenity.

My old blog used to say "candid confessions of a heroin and crack cocaine addict" how come that one comes up when I google "heroin blog" and not this one. THIS IS MY BLOG. I don't flatter myself that every reader knows everything about me and follows closely every single word every day which is why I repeat myself. Most of that is for your benefit not mine.

This is my own private diary, my journal. It is aimed at impressing no-one. It is kept for my own benefit to show where I have been and hopefully to put off somebody somewhere from ever getting into the awful mess I did and still cannot crawl out of. Despite no drugs. I still drink, I'm currently working on reducing my alcohol intake to zero.

If you have something to say you are welcome to comment. Frankness I can handle. Timewasters should try their own suggestions on themselves before wasting time thinking of ME.

PS After years of waxing and waning "mental" symptoms that made me think I had depression and possibly mild bipolar I now have found out I'm schizoaffective. My mood has been constantly "cycling" since December 2010. Mostly towards mania (an excited non-druggy "high"). For me, schizoaffective means bipolar with (sometimes severe)
mania and flashes of depression (occasionally severe) with bits of schizophrenia chucked on top. You could see it as bipolar manic-depression with sparkly knobs on ... I'm on antipsychotic pills but currently no mood stabilizer. I quite enjoy being a bit manic it gives the feelings of confidence and excitement people say they use cocaine for. But this is natural and it's free, so I don't see my "illness" as a downer. It does, however, make life exceedingly hard to engage with...

PPS The "elevated mood" is long gone. Now I'm depressed. Forget any ideas of "happiness" I have given up heroin and want OFF methadone as quick as humanly possible. I'm fed up of being a drug addict. Sick to death of it. I wanna be CLEAN!!!

Attack of the Furry Entertainers!

Attack of the Furry Entertainers!

Saturday, March 15, 2008

ROBO-BURROWING! // Hamster-Keeping!

FOUND AN EMPTY LOLLYPOP JAR last night... it was about 6" (15cm) wide by about 9" or 10" (about 25cm) deep... I filled this two thirds full of woodshavings and plonked my three robbies on top... at first they tubbily trotted round and round like a tubby horserace (always clockwise:... dunno why? Is this something to do with the Northern Hemisphere and the way our water gurgles down the plughole? Or what? But they always ramble round in that fashion...

Spherical was first to use the initiative to dig ~ clever girl! I quite easily got the others to join in by simply inverting the entire container on their heads so the old top was the new bottom... and in a jiffy I had three burrowing tubbies. Spherical still showed a distinct lead, digging persistently and profoundly deeper than the rest and staying under for far longer... as if she'd been a deepsea diver in a "past life"..!

Although they had well over a litre of air in there (for three rodents weighing barely 100g between them)... this would surely have lasted them an hour, lid closed (no breathing holes) but my paranoia forced me to open it up every five minutes or so... which had all three trotters scrabblilng up towards the light...

I also kept turning it this way and that way up, to keep the burrows fresh... this sometimes produced some quite amazing natural caves, which Baby Itchy used to sit up in, washing her ears!

Then I had all three trotting in a row, the lollyjar rotating like a tumble dryer, woodshavings heaping deep on their heads as they went...


ALL hamsters originate from some of the harshest conditions in the world... at both extremes. The "great regular" two-thirds-of-a-rat-sized Syrian hamster (as in my "avatar" self-portrait...) is in the wild a severely endangered species. As far as is known, less than a hundred burrows exist in the wild, in the deserts near Aleppo, which is by the Syrian-Turkish border in the hostile scorpion-ridden Middle-Eastern wilderness...

Pingpong, my Chinese hamster,
comes from the naturally most clement conditions: that is, the woods and mountains of nothern China. He has specially adapted wrists and feet to be able to hold onto your hand or any branch, tree or other climbable support and adeptly scale up.... to the uninitiated he looks like a mouse, only his body is nearly twice as long as a mouse's (coat the same colour though... with a marked "dorsal" backstripe...) Like the European woodmouse he has large markedly hemispherical poppy eyes, but unlike the droplet-shaped woodmouse, Pingpong's body is elongated like an eel almost... which is why I call him a "furry goods train"...

My old two Russian hamsters were actually of two species: the ordinary Russian or Siberian hamsters in most American petshops are called Campbells (the "condensed hamster")... less than half the size of the tubby regular hamster, these come in a wide variety of coat colours and have remarkably soft fur... to keep Russian hamsters' fur at its best it is recommended to provide a bowl full of sand or chinchilla dust for regular dust-bathing... these animals love this! And it keeps their coats in tip-top condition... European petshops almost always sell so-called "winter whites" ... these being grey or albino with a marked dorsal stripe and stripes down each flank. They don't come in a wide variety of colours but have a hippo-shaped squarer head than the Campbells and are said to have a better temperament (which I certainly found to be true! My Campbells was most "assertive"... forever spinning round threatening to nip me upon picking him up! The swine!! If you keep a winter white Russian hamster in a naturally lit room with little or no artificial light at night time (e.g. in a child's bedroom) his fur will naturally go a white colour ... to blend in with the deep snows of Eastern Siberia... (which is one of the coldest places on earth, and where the Siberian or Russian hamsters come from...)

Russian hamsters do not like and cannot comfortably tolerate high summer temperatures, so if your home exceeds 30C or 85F in summertime you'll notice your poor hammies lying flat out panting... so adapted to the permafrosted Siberian ground are they that even the soles of their feet are fur-covered. One blazing hot day I took pity on my poor little swines and let them ramble in the (at the time food-free) icebox of my fridge... unbelievably they rambled about the ice-sheet quite comfortably, suddenly perking up from their summer near-death-seeming repose... I made them a little nest; propped the fridge door open to avoid any possibility of suffocation and allowed them to chill out in the most literal sense!

The roborovski hamsters come from the outskirts of the Gobi desert where summer temperatures reach blazing highs and, without their tubby fat reserves and wooly coats, winters would chill them to the bone. Like hamsters of many kinds, robos do not have constant or reliable supplies of water in their home environment; rather they lick the morning dew from rocks, or eat greens for moisture. This is no reason to deprive roborovskis of water however. Domesticated hamsters are accustomed to bottled water being there at all times and to remove this would be an act of cruelty.

Robos are the smallest, fastest (and wriggliest) of all hamster species... and are widely regarded to be the most pretty... They form strong social groups and bonds in pairs or groups of up to four (I have heard that larger groups can cause problems with pecking order, domineering, bullying and fighting...) more than any other hammies, the robbies will tend to perform activities together... and though all hammies are described as "inquisitive", robbies take the biscuit in this regard. Put a new toy in their home and, even if fast asleep at midday, the chances are that within five minutes they'll be pinging out, sniffing, exploring, jumping, rambling and entertaining themselves all over it..! Roborovskis are quite possibly the most entertaining of all small animals and their antics never cease to amuse. They do, however startle VERY easily, and it's quite normal for them to panic, even if you just put your hand in their tank. One day they might come up to sniff you: another they might flee in sheer terror. These are very tiny, flighty animals who do not really like being handled, though you may be able to tame one or more of your brood to walk on your hands. Just beware: they are apt to jump on the floor without warning! And are VERY difficult to recapture. For this reason the roborovski hamster, though ever so cute, isn't really a suitable pet for most small children...

All hamsters live in burrows during the daylight hours
, though they are not necessarily asleep when in the burrow. Much of the day is spent grooming the self and others (Russian and roborovski hamsters live in social groups; male Chinese hamsters, so I'm told, may be paired but must be closely watched for fighting; Syrian hamsters of both sexes are highly territorial and will not share a burrow with another hamster. They only interact with their own species in order to breed: and even then (in captivity) an issue of Vanity Fair magazine is essential to prevent the female spinning round after the act to bite her stud partner where it hurts most of all...!)

Hammies are no longer considered merely children's pets.
In this age of the flat or apartment-dwelling twentysomething, hammies are perhaps the easiest-going and least demanding of pets to those following the modern lifestyle.

The regular "Syrian" hamster is the most strictly nocturnal of all pet hamster species and will tend to rise at dusk, yawn, stretch, wash, then climb on his wheel (an ESSENTIAL for all hammy species)... which he might well ramble constantly until dawn... perhaps running upto eight miles (12km) in a single night...!

Russian, Chinese and roborovski hamsters are more likely to be active during the daytime... they tend to catnap then get up for short periods... then maybe go to sleep again... Still, they all prefer the hours of darkness to light.

If you wish to observe your hammies in "pitch darkness" you need to know that a red "fireglow" bulb is invisible to hamster eyes, just as infra-red is invisible to us. So instal a red light beside their home and you'll witness their full furry ferocity as they recklessly ramble the night away...

One last tip: if keeping hammies in a bedroom, an aquarium-type enclosure will be much quieter and less annoying than a barred cage. Constant gnawing at the bars is a sign of hammy frustration meaning you need to give your little pet or pets more toys and more things to do. But all hammies do this from time to time...

Likewise there is NO REASON why you should put up with a wheel that squeaks, shrieks or otherwise makes unduly intrusive trundling noises. Most noisy wheels can be rapidly remedied with a blob of butter or marge or a drop of cooking oil...

So here's the Gledwood's hammy advice... get a hammy and add endless entertainment to your life!!

Forgot to mention: Most wheels sold for Syrian hamsters are actually too small to allow your hammy to stretch out and run full-tilt. A rat wheel is far more suitable. Also, though it would seem logical that a solid plastic wheel would be preferred; when given the choice some of my hamsters actually opted for a wire wheel. Perhaps because it gives the impression of climbing bars very quickly..? I don't know. I'd also say that most hammy homes, though fine for the dwarf species really are a little tiny for a full-grown Syrian hamster. I kept my Pandable in a 2'6"x 1' (floor area) by 18" deep cracked old fishtank rescued from the street. (That is 75cm x 30cm; x 45cm deep). Also he ran (VERY QUICKLY; far quicker than on any "hamster wheel") on an expensive wire rat wheel with a 10" or 12" diameter (I think it was 12") that is 30cm. When I took him to my Dad's he had to go in the dreaded mouse cage fitted with a wheel of half diameter. He advertised his disgust by nibbling furiously at the bars all night, every night until safely back home in his aquarium...


MANY THANKS for all your moral support regarding my tribulations and trials of life... your comments have all been much appreciated... I only apologize how long it's taken to get back personally to each and every one of you... please bear with me and do not be offended! I try to keep in touch with my every single contact as often as I possibly can! And on that note I say goodbye for now: and I hope to be in touch with y'all as soon as possible!

My new radio station of the day: 4BC Brisbane 1116 (Queensland, Australia) ... it's 9:48pm London time but I take it very early in the morning out there... everyone sounds so sleepy... they're talking about lawn mowings and "fruit fly traps"... (whatever those are...~?!?)

Their telno is 13 13 32 (international code for Down Under is +61 far as I know; haven't a clue what's the code for Brisbane....)

Found another one 2GB Sydney... but they're both prattling on about GARDENING... at this hour (to them) of the morning... why?

OK, OK, found another one: 2UE Sydney... but they're blithering on about sport! And it's not that EARLY they're "coming up to the nine o'clock news" and it's 10pm here...


PS Anonymous told me a far better radio station: ABC's (that's AUSTRALIAN Broadcasting Corporation's) Radio National. If you've never done it before and want to listen just click on the name, find "listen live"; click on that; it prompts you to "select your player" I chose Windows. And on you go.

(Once the radio's up and playing to your satisfaction, just "minimize" that window... and you can roam about the internet wherever you please with uninterrupted entertainment streaming through your headphones or speakers...)


Bimbimbie said...

Hi Gleds .. I can see why those little balls of furientertainment are so endearing - good spotting the discarded lolly jar - couldn't you make a couple of small holes in the lid and then you would be able to relax and watch them digging around.

... I don't know why anyone would want that internet radio you mentioned - just one more gadget.

I think my server may have been at fault for not being able to leave comments with you during the week it went down for a few hours on Friday too and Blogger had been down earlier in the week so fingers crossed for now that this comes through *!* by the way that couple did they really call their daughter Milwall?!!

Gledwood said...

problem with the lid is it's REALLY THICK with special uppydowny "holes" (really thickly moulded) to take lollies standing on the top

if I made holes in the bottom it would risk leaking sawdust unless kept that way all the time (maybe I will do that though)

yeah internet radio=crap

do you have DAB radio in Aus?

I know a lot of countries seem to use satellite radio. we don't. DAB is like microwave radio and the signal is AMAZINGLY strong: e.g. you can set up a set in a shop in the middle of a precinct right under a strip light using nothing but the set's internal aerial and get PERFECT reception... unlike FM, which would require a rooftop aerial... I had a walkman style set (till I cashed it back in for... guess what...) it was fantastic

if they ever do launch that down under GET IT seriously it is fantastic!

Pink said...

Hey Furry Face!

I like your photos of your other furry faced friends...so...did you get a charger after all?

I don't have hamsters...I used to have rats in New York - but they weren't really pets. I like hammies tho...my nephew had one :)


Gledwood said...

Ratties are meant to make really good pets... I was only put off by the required size of the cage... though my huge tubby golden hamster Pandable ran on a 10 or 12" diameter rat wheel 8 miles nightly and got VERY upset when taken on holiday with a 6" diameter "hamster" wheel...

Gledwood said...

oh duh I 4got to answer: re photos: no those robo pixx are actually stock photos from the internet

bc all robbies look "the same" that is exactly the same markings (except for the white faced roborovski) any robopic found online really DOES look like my Bashful, Spherical or Itchy...

Anonymous said...

Good morning and evening! I enjoyed reading about your dust-bath machine, it probably smells good too like lollypops! The code for Brisbane is '07' but I can't imagine that station being worth listening to as you have discovered. 2UE isn't much better! Radio National on the other hand ... ;) This post could be a whole pamphlet for sale at your local pet store!!! Got a printer ...?

jmb said...

Hey Gleds. I came to see how you are doing and have been reading some of the past posts. Good for you, going to the radio station. A great experience.

Thanks for all the info on these furry things but I'm a dog person and will always be one as you can imagine.

Wow, the mention of Sydney radio stations 2GB and 2UE are blasts from the past as I grew up in Sydney listening to them along with the ABC. No TV in those days!

Take care Gleds

Edyta said...

luv bimbimbie's phrase: furientertainment :D never thought there would be someone loving hamsties thaaaat much. my frd had one but it died. :( thats why i dont like em too much, cuz once u get preoccupied it may suddenly die :(( but they r sooo cute.

& i just luv songs that have that memory element in them. my ultimate fave song has stacks of memories in it & it is high hopes by pink floyd. it is magical, ya know?

i'm quite enjoying london, there r some weird things but its cool. i didnt excpect i would love uni that much, however there r those downfalls :(

i DID update at last (i know i know) i havent written anything except my journalistic crap.

Welshcakes Limoncello said...

Loved that song, "Jolene". Oh, Gleds, how much you know about hamsters! They are so cute, as always! What do you mean "bye for now"?

boneman said...

Simon the Salmon?
Dang! I was just happy to get it written short enough to keep folks from wandering away from the joke.

Steve said...

Gleds, haven't had a chance to drop in for a while. Wow, lots going on. Sounds great. Possibly crossing the channel. Cleaning up for the radio night. This all sounds serious. That means that book is going to be for real. Way to go!

Sometimes Saintly Nick said...

A aquarium-type enclosure also keeps hammies from escaping. I learned that from experiences with a hammie we nick-named Houdini for his exploits.

Merle said...

Hi Gleds ~~ Congrats on going to the Radio station and doing your best. Let us know if they use any of your
comments. And you sure have lots of info about hamsters of all varieties.
They are company and an interest for you. I have no pets, as I like to get away for a few days every now and then. I am going away at Easter for a few days. Thanks for your comments and questions about my eyes. I have been taking Lutein capsules (one a day) but do not know if I have the wet or dry Macular, must ask the Eye Doctor.
But I can see pretty well, so don't worry about me. So far so good.
You look after yourself my friend,
Very best wishes, Merle.

Akelamalu said...

Interesting read on the Hammys Gleds. :)

Deb said...

I haven't been answering my comments lately gled and it's because sometimes I get bogged down with several tasks to do at once. So I understand and never take it personally...I know you'll be around when you can. Great hamster post...I learned a lot.

Vi said...

Thanks for that mate. My boys are getting hamsters for their birthdays so this will help!

Gledwood said...

Anon: I might write a book about hamsters one day!!

JMB: "no TV in those days"..! Wow!! You must come from back in the day when the Aussie nightly news was read out by a man in a dinnerjacket with a posh accnent (jacket and tie required even though it WAS radio: makes you just SOUND starchier hahar!!)

Edyta: hey d'you remember when I 1st knew you I thought your name was a pun on "editor" ... didn't realize it was a Central European version of "Edith"..!

Welshcakes: oh bye for now was just bc as per usual I am TERMINALLY running out of computer time/money...

Gledwood said...

Boneman: haha, har-dee-har!!

Steve: yeah I have to do that book still (VERY slowly creeping ahead, to my shame)... I DO have the ending though...

Nick: aquarium: quite right. unless the wheel is big enough (as Pandable's was) and the hammy tubby and trotterly enough to upend the wheel or block it with mounds of woodshavings, climb up it and ESCAPE as he once did... digging right into my landlord's personal clothes cupboard..!!

Merle: I'm glad you're OK. Vietnam is not, apparently, the only country where hamsters are banned! They're also ILLEGAL right across Australia... my Aussie ex used to exclaim about Pandable "oh he looks just like a cartoon character!" as he pinged across the carpet (Pandable wasn't like Itchy; he was properly tame and would come back when let out for a nightly ramble; I even took him for a walk on the back lawn at 4am one morning...)... anyhow no you don't need to worry about hammies if you go away you can EASILY leave them for a week if not two with absolutely no ill effects. Their food is dry and they naturally hoard it anyway (hamster MEANS "hoarder" in German)... the bottle should last at least a fortnight and you can add another one for good luck... also most cages are so easy to carry you could just put 'em in the back of your car... here I go advertising hammies again I ought to take up SELLING 'em!

Gledwood said...

Akelamalu: cheers, dears!

Debs: Don't worry about not being around a lot... I seem to have more difficulty staying touch since I changed caffs... lots of computer breakdowns here and I have to be really organized and go "right I WILL go visiting = EVERYONE tonight!!"

Vi: hammies: whoopeeee-doo!!!

lettuce said...





AMLS said...

My wheel squeaked so badly when my human bought it last week that it was deafening! You're right though, she greased it up with cooking oil and it spins a treat now.
Love from Arthur Merrylegs x

Gledwood said...

Lettuce: ooo! ;->...

Amls: hey I thought your name was Amis for a moment there... as in Kingsley and Martin... d'you know their work? I don't read such modernist tosh; I prefer Victoriana and Jackie Collins... oh you're a hamster! Yes! Cooking oil is very much required as you MUST realize how much it annoys your human keepers and can even prompt them to SELFISHLY stop your wheel up so's not to annoy THEM and THEIR OWN PRECIOUS SLEEPING NEEDS when they probably poke you out of bed during the day and yet resent your constant nighttime rambles! My hammies (imaginatively all named "Hammy") when I was a kid didn't HAVE wheels as we didn't KNOW you were meant to have one, so one in particular used to spend literally all night every night nibbling the bars... as a small kid I once crept downstairs convinced some burglar was avidly chisselling away at our front door! I couldn't believe it was just the hammy! (who lived next to the front door...)

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Heroin Shortage: News

If you are looking for the British Heroin Drought post, click here; the latest word is in the comments.

Christiane F

"Wir, Kinder vom Bahnhoff Zoo" by "Christiane F", memoir of a teenage heroin addict and prostitute, was a massive bestseller in Europe and is now a set text in German schools. Bahnhoff Zoo was, until recently, Berlin's central railway station. A kind of equivalent (in more ways than one) to London's King's Cross... Of course my local library doesn't have it. So I'm going to have to order it through a bookshop and plough through the text in German. I asked my druggieworker Maple Syrup, who is Italiana how she learned English and she said reading books is the best way. CHRISTIANE F: TRAILER You can watch the entire 120-min movie in 12 parts at my Random blog. Every section EXCEPT part one is subtitled in English (sorry: but if you skip past you still get the gist) ~ to watch it all click HERE.

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Drugs Videos

Most of these come from my Random blog, which is an electronic scrapbook of stuff I thought I might like to view at some time or other. For those who want to view stuff on drugs I've collected the very best links here. Unless otherwise stated these are full-length features, usually an hour or more.

If you have a slow connexion and are unused to viewing multiscreen films on Youtube here's what to do: click the first one and play on mute, stopping and starting as it does. Then, when it's done, click on Repeat Play and you get the full entertainment without interruption. While you watch screen one, do the same to screens 2, 3 and so on. So as each bit finishes, the next part's ready and waiting.

Mexican Black Tar Heroin: "Dark End"

Khun Sa, whose name meant Prince Prosperous, had been, before his death in the mid 2000s, the world's biggest dealer in China White Heroin: "Lord of the Golden Triangle"

In-depth portrait of the Afghan heroin trade at its very height. Includes heroin-lab bust. "Afghanistan's Fateful Harvest"

Classic miniseries whose title became a catchphrase for the misery of life in East Asian prison. Nicole Kidman plays a privileged middle-class girl set up to mule heroin through Thai customs with the inevitable consequences. This is so long it had to be posted in two parts. "Bangkok Hilton 1" (first 2 hours or so); "Bangkok Hilton 2" (last couple of hours).

Short film: from tapwater-clear H4 in the USA to murky black Afghan brown in Norway: "Heroin Addicts Speak"

Before his untimely death this guy kept a video diary. Here's the hour-long highlights as broadcast on BBC TV: "Ben: Diary of a Heroin Addict". Thanks to Noah for the original link.

Some of the most entertaining scenes from Britain's top soap (as much for the poor research as anything else). Not even Phil Mitchell would go from nought to multi-hundred pound binges this fast: "Phil Mitchell on Crack" (just over 5 minutes).

Scientist lady shows us how to cook up gear: "How Much Citric?" Lucky cow: her brown is 70% purity! Oddly we never see her actually do her hit... maybe she got camera shy...

And lastly:

German documentary following a life from teenage addiction to untimely death before the age of 30. The decline in this girl's appearance is truly shocking. "Süchtig: Protokoll einer Hilflosigkeit". Sorry no subtitles; this is here for anyone learning German who's after practice material a little more gripping than Lindenstraße!

Nosey Quiz! Have you ever heard voices when you weren't high on drugs?

Manic Magic

Manic Magic

Gledwood Volume 2: A Heroin Addict's Blog

Copyright 2011 by Gledwood