Thursday, July 17, 2008

The art of killing mice

So it's to safe to say that I have a mice problem. The problem has intensified recently since my new neighbors moved in and brought along with them a fearsome cat which has caused a mass migration of mice from the first floor of my apartment building to the third.

Don't get me wrong. I really don't mind the mice that much and would totally be fine with the idea of co-habitation. The problem is that they shit all over my kitchen. That's just rude. I don't shit in their kitchen.

My first encounter with the bastards was 2 years ago. It was when the weather turned cold when I first began to notice their presence. The mice had decided my kitchen was their equivalent to our Palm Springs. Measures had to be taken. My first wave of "attacks" against the mice horde went surprisingly well. I placed some snap traps baited with peanut butter in various locations around the kitchen. This initial tactic was very successful, albeit messy, and I foolishly thought that was the last of the mice.

And it was for a while. Until the following winter. The mice were drawn to my kitchen like sailors were to V.D. "Well, it looks like it's time for the snap traps again boys" I said aloud and dutifully placed several traps around the kitchen. I awoke the next morning eagerly awaiting to see at least 2-3 dead rodents. I think I may have even said "I tried to warn you." Much to my dismay, there were none. Not one of the traps had been triggered. Yet, somehow, the little assholes managed to eat all of the peanut butter off the traps. I felt like they were laughing at me from inside the walls. I was infuriated. Still, I had to tip my hat to them for their talent. What kind of mice was I dealing with?

After several more frustrating attempts using the snap traps and peanut butter, I decided I should consult with my landlord a self-proclaimed expert in these matters. He concluded that I should use a combination of glue traps and steel wool. He had his "crew" install some steel wool behind my stove and sink. Apparently the steel wool would cut their paws and tongues off when trying to get to the kitchen and it's precious bread crumbs around my toaster. While this sounded a bit over the top at the time, I was beginning to run out of options.

A few weeks passed and nothing happened. Success! I gleefully imagined a mouse with a maimed paw and newly developed speech impediment struggling to warn his cronies about the dangers of the "Kitchen." This sense of accomplishment would not last long however. Once our new neighbors moved in, the mice came back and these mice were tougher than any of their previous brethren.

Throughout the next few months I tried to think outside of the box and used a variety of methods to deal with the rodents. I had a brief success with sonic mousetraps that emitted a high pitch frequency that warded off the mice for a while. Apparently, mice can adapt to this sound and within a couple months the mice were clearly unaffected by my high-tech wizardry. Another failure was my use of peppermint oil soap that supposedly is very unpleasant for mice to smell. I'm pretty sure my mice licked the damn soap off the counters.

I have to confess that I had pretty much given up on beating the mice over the last month or so. I still placed traps every now and then, but I never expected to trap any mice. This past weekend I was at a cookout talking about my problem with the father of one of friends. He bestowed upon me a tactic using snap traps that I had never thought of. He explained that if you wedge a sunflower seed in the trigger part of the trap the mice will have a tough time loosing the seed and most likely set the trap. Of course!

So my dear readers I am glad to report that I have killed two rodents in the same number of days using this clever, yet simple tactic. I feel triumphant with this knowledge and these two dead mice. Kind of like what Arnold's character Dutch felt in Predator when he said "If it bleeds, we can kill it."

Here's to you Mr. Spacco.

I'm back

Hello everyone. I thought about apologizing for my lack of posts for the last three months but decided against it. Over the next week or so I will be blogging like a madman. Here is a preview of topics:
-The art of killing mice
-The worst shot ever
-Richard Marx
-Old people
-zombie dreams

Tuesday, April 22, 2008


It's election day here in Philadlephia and I have to say I'm glad it's over. I consider myself to be hyper-political person. I constantly read and watch anything election related these days. I love discussing politics at great lengths with friends and family. But after tonight, I'm taking off for at least a week or two. No more blogs, NY Times op-eds, and no more TV pundits for a while. I'm just mentally exhausted from the whole process.

I have begun to dislike myself because of the guttural feelings I have towards people who are Hillary or McCain supporters. Not just strangers, but my friends and co-workers. This isn't healthy.

So I voted for Barack Obama and some other people I knew very little about. Now, I'm looking forward to watching some baseball and maybe doing some schoolwork during the next couple of weeks. Who knows? Maybe I will start watching the NBA again or even more dramatic for me, the NHL.

Monday, April 14, 2008


I have always had a love for songs about revenge. There is something romantic about the characters in these songs that dedicate their lives to murder/justice. Here are my top five revenge songs:

5. Black by Okkervil River - Not sure but it sounds like a deadbeat dad gets murdered for abandoning his first family and starting a new one.

4. Big Payback by James Brown - James get revenge while making the rest of us get down on the dance floor. Someone pissed off James real bad in this one. They stole his honey and more importantly, his money. Best line: "I don't know Karate but I know Crazy!"

3. The Mariner's Revenge Song by The Decemberists - This song combines two of my favorite things: revenge and whaling. This song reminds me of Stanley Kubrick's Barry Lyndon.

2. The Other Shoe by The Old 97's - Infidelity can get you killed in many parts of the world and Texas is no exception.

1. Roland the Headless Thompson Gunner by Warren Zevon - This one is my favorite. The song tells the tale of a Norwegian mercenary named Roland who is betrayed and murdered by his Judas-like comrade Van Owen. Roland gets his revenge however by somehow reanimating and killing that son of a bitch.

Does anybody else have favorite revenge songs?

Thursday, April 10, 2008


Earlier this week, I watched Kansas comeback and beat Memphis for the National Championship. I watched the post-game interviews with the coaches and the players and was troubled by some of the comments made by Memphis head coach, John Calipari.

While trying to explain how his team blew a nine point lead with less than two minutes left in regulation, Calipari began to explain that during those final minutes, he asked God that he was going to leave the outcome of the game in his hands(paraphrased). What? Are we to believe that God really wanted Kansas to win? Did God have some money riding on the game? Or, was Calipari just trying to avoid accepting his share of the blame for losing the game?

Calipari was the one who failed to call a timeout and instruct his players to foul Chalmers. Calipari, you blew it! Don't blame God because he probably doesn't even exist.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Ode to Eugen Weber

I love history. In fact, I'm currently working on becoming a high school history teacher. In the past year or so, I have discovered a television program called The Western Tradition, which airs on WHYY at 5:00am. The show chronicles the history of western civilization and it is tremendous. Here is a clip.

He is like a god clad in tweed! Listen to how he rolls his r's.

The program was originally filmed in 1989 and is broken into 52 half hour episodes. The program is hosted by former UCLA Professor and famous writer, Eugen Weber. Weber does an excellent job of explaining history through highlighting art, letters, and details that are often ignored by many other historical programs.

In the last week or so I began having daydreams of meeting this man. Perhaps I would write him a letter. We would begin corresponding about the rise of nationalism in France during the 19th century or how the Viking invasions of central Europe served as a catalyst for economic change during the Dark Ages. Oh, the things this man could teach me about history! Much to my dismay, I just learned yesterday that Weber died last year of Pancreatic cancer and so, we will never have that correspondence.

I know it seems odd that I feel so strongly about someone I have never met, but I can honestly say that the man has inspired me. He makes we want to wear a suit and tie everyday once I'm a teacher. It's a profession goddammit.

Here's to you old man.

Monday, March 31, 2008

Opening Day and why I'm sad

Today is opening day for many MLB teams. My favorite team, the Baltimore Orioles, play the Tampa Bay Devil Rays at 7:05pm. I could care less.

I remember a time when opening day represented the 'true' first day of spring. It was a day of promise for a season of baseball that could lead to a playoff berth and possibly, a World Series. But that was a long time ago. After 10 losing seasons, I have given up those pipe-dreams and lowered my expectations of my once beloved O's. These days I look forward to them just playing for .500. Even that seems impossible for the lowly birds.

I hear there is hope though. The O's have practically gutted their team and are engaging in yet another rebuilding phase through a youth movement. So in 2-3 years we should start seeing dividends. Right? Please, someone tell me that this is what's going to happen. Who else is ready for football season?

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

First bees, now bats

It now appears that bats may become extinct.
A new virus is killing them across America in the thousands. Now some of my readers might be saying out there "Good. I hate bats." What you may be forgetting is that bats eat bugs. Lot's of them. No bats=more bugs x 1,000,000,000 (I may have to check the math on this). This means camping is less fun, Malaria is less fun, and growing crops is less fun. Stock tip: Buy as many shares of OFF Bug Repellant.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Heavy sigh

The video clip below is of Bush singing at a dinner for the press and Washington elite this past Saturday. It was supposed to be off the record. In his song he jokingly recalls some of his "slips" during his tenure in the White House.

The fact that we went to war with a country based on "bad" intelligence. The fact that a White House aide committed perjury and then whose sentence was commuted by this hack. The fact that he appointed unqualified people to some of the most important positions in our government. It's all a big joke to this jerk.

Listen and cringe.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Zombie Dream update

So I had two zombie dreams Saturday night. I can't really remember the first one that well. It involved major flooding in the city and everyone had to go up to the roofs of the buildings in town. Somehow zombies got up there too. The second one more like a movie I was watching. The movie was about this fragrance company that was using cheap chemicals and the end result was a bunch of old ladies turned into zombies. A Rittenhouse Square like area in my dream was a bloodbath.

The first one came from that torrential downpour we had Saturday. I'm not sure about the second one. I don't know, my fear of old ladies perhaps?

You know it's time for the baseball season to start...

when you find yourself getting weepy at the season finale of Project Runway. What's wrong with me?

Friday, March 7, 2008

Indie Rock+Karaoke+Victory Pilsner+Patrick Swayze Cancer Jokes=Triumph!

So last night I went to an indie-rock themed karaoke event called Karaoke Obscura. It was held at 12 Steps Down on 9th and Christian. I highly recommend it to everyone.

They have an amazing list of songs to choose from. I never thought I would get to sing Palace Music in front of a live audience. The event happens on the first Thursday of every month. I already looking forward to the next one in April. I feel bad for not getting the names of the fine folks who ran the event. The great thing about them is that you can request songs to be added to the song list and it actually happens. I'm going to request more METAL. Yeah!

On a side note, the bartender Freddie was a helluva nice guy who shared some keen insight on today's younger generation.

Oh, my favorite inappropraite Patrick Swayze Cancer lines:
"Cancer don't hurt."
"Nobody puts Cancer in the corner."

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Don't send that text!

I had three dreams last night that I can remember. The first one involved, you know it, zombies. Every time I would send a text message, a zombie would appear or find me somehow. Somehow the zombies were linked in with cell networks of the world. My dream-self suspected someone was controlling the zombies through a satellite or something. Ludicrous! I think this dream was inspired by the upcoming film Cell based on the Stephen King novel of the same name.

The second dream involved me carpooling with a co-worker. We got pulled over for speeding. The cop was Mark McKinney from Kids in the Hall. He let us go without giving us a ticket because I explained that we were carpooling. I have been watching a lot of Kids in the Hall lately.

The third, and my favorite, dream involved me creating an extremely powerful fighting technique. I traveled the globe whooping the world's top fighters. I was unstoppable! I plan on filming a demonstration of the move very soon so I can post it here for your viewing pleasure.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Where are the zombies?

So since I have created this blog I have only had one zombie dream. I know. Crazy. I can't even remember much of it. It was something about how I was living with a bunch of hillbillies in the country and the whole zombie apocalypse went down. Nothing much changed for me and the hillbillies. We drank, had barbecues, played horseshoes, and shot an occasional zombie. I think we all wore overalls. That's all I can recall.

While not a bad zombie dream, it wasn't very scary. My previous dreams were very scary. They could be classified as nightmares. I would wake up sweating and hurriedly check to see if I locked the door. I hated and loved them at the same time. So last night I got a text from a friend saying that she was having a ton of zombie dreams. I envied her right away. What about me? What happened to my zombie dreams? It's not like I haven't been reading about zombies or watching movies about zombies. So what gives? Is it over? Have I conquered my zombie dreams? Will I have to change the name of this blog? Stay tuned to find out.


I have a lot going on right now. Here is the list:

1. 23 different background checks
2. Homework
3. Read school books
4. Get fingerprints taken for aforementioned 23 background checks
5. Watch Trapped in the Closet in it's entirety
6. Waste time browsing the internet
7. Laundry
8. Stare longingly at my Xbox 360
9. Maintain friendships
10. Donate money to Obama

Monday, February 18, 2008

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Thinking about the Cosby Show

So I was thinking about the Cosby Show the other day at work. Even as a child, I was always bothered that Cliff's dad didn't look much older than him. I did some research on IMDB and found out that the actor that played Grandpop Huxtable was only eleven years older than Bill Cosby. Did anybody else wonder about this back in the 80's?

Monday, February 11, 2008

You're gonna need a bigger boat.

So last night I dreamed about the movie Jaws. It's one of my favorite films. I always end up watching it when it come across it on AMC. My dream basically replayed the film for me but with different actors and a slightly different plot. Eventually my dream turned into me writing a paper about the movie and the novel by Michael Crichton.

The dream in itself isn't too weird. What is weird is this morning while eating breakfast I see on the news that Roy Schneider died yesterday. He was the guy in Jaws that played the Sheriff and said one of my favorite lines in cinema, "Smile you sunavabitch!"

Let's recap, shall we? Last night I dream about the movie Jaws. I find out the next day that the actor who had the leading role in that same film died. Last week I predicted that the Giants would not only beat the Patriots but they would beat them by three points. They went on to do so.

Have I recently untapped some latent power of precognition? I certainly hope not because I tend to dream about zombies.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

They put their helmets on part two.

The New York Giants upset the New England Patriots Sunday night by a score of 17 to 14. Well, it looks like the Giants kept their helmets on.

I said it three weeks back that the Giants had "Put their helmets on today" when they upset the Packers. I believe my new sports phrase, that is sweeping across the nation, served as a catalyst that helped the Giants win one of the greatest upsets in Super Bowl history.

Now some of you might say that it was the defensive line of the Giants that constantly pressured, hurried, and sacked Tom Brady that decided the outcome of the Super Bowl. Others of you might say it was Eli Manning finally stepping out of the shadow of his brother and father and leading the game winning drive that won the game. And one of or two of you might even try and blame the loss on Tom Brady's bum ankle. Well, all of you are wrong. It was the phrase.

So let's please stop debating the merits of my new phrase. Not only does it sound really cool, but it also helps win Super Bowls.

On a side note, I picked the the Giants to win by 3. I swear.

Saturday, February 2, 2008


Hello everyone. I am drunk tonight. I am playing rockband with buddies. Pzander and groff a re really good singers and natalie is a really good drummer. I haven't had tequilaa in a long time. Tonight, i had two shots.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

They put their helmets on today.

"They put their helmets on today." That's what I told my friend while watching the Giants upset the Packers Sunday night. I was referring to how well the Giants were playing and how they came to Green Bay to win. I'm fairly confident that it will be the next great sports catch phrase. I think that within ten years it will be on par with "That's why they play the game" and "Any given Sunday".

What do you think? Oh, does anybody know John Madden? Al Michaels? Joe Buck? Anybody?

Monday, January 21, 2008

Never My Love

So I really like the song, Never My Love, by the Association. I heard it on the 60's station at work today. It's just a great love song with some of the best harmonies to be recorded from that era. While not a sad song, I always feel melancholy after hearing it. This wasn't always the case.

A couple years back I was drinking in this dive with my wife. We had just moved to Philly and were urgently seeking out the best dive bars in our area. The one we kept going back to was just a few blocks from our apartment and had a good mix of old timers, hipsters, and union guys who were doing construction in the area.

The place was kind of quiet that night. While drinking our $6 pitchers of Lager, we spotted this big union guy putting some money in the jukebox. You know the kind of guy I'm talking about. Big and broad with that red face that comes from a lifetime of working outdoors and heavy drinking. The kind of guy that eats cheese steaks from the carts for breakfast. Sometimes two of them.

After searching for a while, Big Union Guy found something to his liking and sat back down at the bar. He was alone that night and was drinking like it. The song that Big Union Guy selected was of course, Never My Love. As the song began, he just stared straight ahead not doing a thing. Occasionally, he would take a healthy swig of his beer or take a pull from his cigarette. But mostly, during that sweet song, he sat there motionless staring at something really far away.

My wife, being the professional people watcher that she is, was the first one to notice the sorrow in this man. We sat there in our booth watching him drink and listen so intently to the song, and though I can't speak for her, pitying the man for his lost love.

Who was this girl that he played the song for? An ex-girlfriend from his younger days? His first wife? His second? What had happened to the two of them? A small part of me wanted to buy the guy a drink and, with a little luck, hear the story about this girl. But people don't do that. Not in real life anyway.

So when I hear, Never My Love, I always think of Big Union Guy. Is he still pining for this lost love? Does he play that song only on their old anniversary? Does he ever think of calling her up one night after ten beers? I'm rooting for him and he doesn't even know it.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Dreams part 2 - It's a girl!

So last night I dreamed my wife and I had a baby girl. The strange thing was that we didn't name the baby. In my dream, the baby had clearly been around for a few weeks and we kept calling her "baby girl". I think I remember that we were waiting for her to do something before giving her a name. This reminds me of how some Native Americans named their children and how Italian mobsters gave each other nicknames. So maybe we were going to call her Screams like Bobcat or Fat Joey.

Disclaimer: The only research I did for this post was previous watchings of Dances with Wolves and Goodfellas.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Dreams part 1

So I can't remember many of my dreams last night. The one I do remember is cryptic at best. I dreamed that I was in a Chinese takeout restaurant. I ordered Pork Lo Mein and General Tso's. I think I asked the lady behind the counter to mix the two together. When the lady rang me up my total came to be $30. My dream-self was outraged by the price and explained to the lady that in Philly that I could get the same thing for much less. That's all I can really remember.

I think my dream was inspired by Stephen Colbert eating Lo Mein on his show the other night. It was very funny. Perhaps the high price for the Chinese food represents China's rising economic power in the world. Who knows?

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Too much time on my hands?

So I listen to a lot of NPR. I would say on a daily basis I average 2-3 hours. This is not including the time I spend listening to various podcasts as well. Today I took the step from passive listener to active listener by calling in to Radio Times with Marty Moss-Coane!

I was laying in my bed listening to her introduce the topic of how Pennsylvania will soon outlaw the labeling of rbst free(growth hormone free) on milk. I work at a grocery store that sells rbst free milk so I was mildly interested. Then one of her guests, a one Dr. Terry Effner from Penn State, decreed that if consumers wanted rbst free milk they could purchase organic. I immediately shot up from bed and raced to my computer to find the number so I could call in to the show. The problem with Dr. Effner's statement is that there is a considerable price difference between rbst free milk and organic milk. I would estimate that a gallon on regular rbst free milk is about $2.50-3.00 cheaper than organic milk. For many families, milk is a staple item that is purchased on a weekly basis and so the costs can add up by purchasing organic milk. I thought this price difference should be shared with the world. To my surprise, I got through the screening process and found myself on the air.

On a scale from 1 to 10, I would give myself a 6.5 for my performance(?). I stammered a bit, used the wrong words a couple of times, said that Dr. Effner's statement was ridiculous, and hung up before the guests could ask me where I work. Still, it was exciting.

first post

Hello everyone. My initial idea for this blog was to each day document my dreams from the previous night. The title comes from my obsession with zombies and my reoccurring nightmares about them. I'm still planning on doing that but I may post about other topics as well. I mean let's face it, it's difficult to remember your dreams sometimes.