Monday, July 25, 2016


It's been awhile since I posted my final stragglers list at the end of my career in the exotic pet industry. Now I have posted ALL of the spiders currently in my possession for sale. It is time to completely leave live animal keeping behind. I just wish my parrot would get the message. Just kidding.

Thursday, July 14, 2016



I'm exhausted and jet-lagged after my third trip to England this year alone. I believe it was my 12th trip to the UK overall. My first was in 2006 when I was a vendor promoting my ARACHNOCULTURE magazine. Around the same time my mate Andrew Smith asked me to become the British Tarantula Society's North American Representative. I returned twice the following year - the first time to be the keynote speaker at the BTS Lectures and the second to once again attend the Exhibition. By then I had put ARACHNOCULTURE to rest and I was there to work as a committee member. My employer at Northwest Zoological and owner of Alex Orleans was with me.

Although the first two UK trips of 2016 were for the BTS Lectures (early March) and Exhibition (mid-May), this visit was to attend a party. Yep, I flew 8000 miles round trip and spent $2000+ to go to a party! It wasn't just any party though. Ray and Angela Hale have been the backbone of the BTS for 25 years and they run our Head Office and are the Exhibition Organizers/Promoters. Every year they have an early July party called "Halefest". This was #14. The theme was "Back to the 80s" and us metalhead types dressed in kind. I have been invited the past few years and finally accepted. The day of the party was also the Hales 33rd wedding anniversary. The party is largely comprised of people who have a BTS association and many are current or former BTS Committee members. That, of course, includes my brother-from-another-mother Mark Pennell and his wife Kim. I tried to surprise them with limited success. A few hints I dropped were "sussed out" by Mark and Kim and they felt the atmospheric disturbance I cause.

The Hales. Ray in Lemmy costume. 80s party. Photo credit: © Matt Cooper
Me, Mark and Tyrion Lannister have things in common.
I brought Mark's T-shirt over as a gift.
This is shortly after the Pennells and the Wills arrived from Bristol
#tigerlager #ftw

My costume. Me in a Venom T-shirt and denim vest and wig.
My hair was never black, but it was always ridiculous in the 80s.
Love the flag of England in the background as I was celebrating the
New Wave of British Heavy Metal with my costume.
The vest had a Venom patch on back, my nickname "Jake" on the breast
 and a NWOBHM patch, but all are obscured.
I will see Mark and Kim and Ray and Ang soon in Budapest. This is the third year Mária and László of MaciLaci Spiders, Hungary will put on a lecture series in Budapest that features five BTS-associated presenters. This year Mark and Ray will speak, as will Andrew Smith, Stuart Longhorn and Peter Kirk. I am going to bring a lecture or two on my flash drive in case I am needed as a pinch-hitter ;) Or perhaps they want to extend the talks by another hour? No worries. The reason I am going is just to hang with the Pennells and the Hales. Seeing what everyone says is an amazing city will be a bonus, and so will having the opportunity to spend time with the Hungarian contingent.

Kim, "Lemmy" Ray, Haidee and Mark.
The Pennells and the Wills came as Bucks Fizz.
They danced along with the hit "Making My Mind Up"
Me and the mad genius that is Carl Portman.
Not sure why I look so constipated.
But I am sure why I look so sunburned. Tricky English clouds.

So as I spend the day recovering from exhaustion and jet-lag I reflect on trips past and adventures to come. Budapest October will be here before I know it. Then I will be counting down the days until my February 2017 trip back to Langkawi Island, Malaysia where this year the Hales will join us. The week before many of our group will also be in Sarawak, Malaysian Borneo where I hope to find vipers and spiders in the jungles of Bako National Park. In between hopefully I'll be able to swing England 2016 #4 with yet another visit to Bristol.

All the best, MJ

Friday, July 1, 2016


Since I made my documentary "In Search of Costa Rican Tarantulas", it has only been available as a paid download at Andrew M. Smith's It was only 3 quid, about $4.50 or so, but everybody wants everything for free. I think I saw my half of the proceeds once or twice, but even at dirt cheap prices these downloads are few and far between.

Now, for the first time, I GIVE to you my documentary of our 2006 field trip to Costa Rica, which found 14 varieties of tarantula, for about what it's worth. If you are so inclined you can find this film on my YouTube channel split into two parts as the Love Tarantulas downloads have been. Even for FREE I imagine I'll have to lead some of you ponies to the water, so here are the direct links to watch. If nothing else you can laugh at our neckerchiefs and listen to Andrew.

In Search of Costa Rican Tarantulas - Part 1, 720p

In Search of Costa Rican Tarantulas - Part 2, 720p

#127 - END OF AN ERA

And you thought I was a quitter when I shut down Michael Jacobi's SPIDERSHOPPE ...

Last night I vaporized It launched in 2000 and had a major overhaul in 2013. After 16 years online, I have deleted all the pages and files. This includes The Tarantula Bibliography, which I created in 2005 and had over a ten year run. I have zero desire, no interest, y nada tiempo to continue to update changes in theraphosid taxonomy. It also includes the digital versions of the seven issues of ARACHNOCULTURE I published between 2005 and 2007. If you hadn't read them by now you weren't likely to.

The new is simple. It has a single, elegant page with links to where I reside in cyberspace. Most importantly, it links to my SmugMug page where my photography lives. I will be uploading hundreds of more photos to this site as time allows. Other links include this blog, my YouTube channel and social media. It also mentions my business website -

I posted a screenshot of the new single-page site to my Instagram feed moments ago. I won't do that here and instead hope you'll click on the link above and give the new site a visit. It wouldn't take more than five minutes to read the whole page. Minimalistic. Concise. Refined.

Then again maybe you don't give a fuck. I'm not bothered.

All the best, MJ