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?