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The great mouse infestation of 2004 became the great mouse slaughter of 2004 on Saturday morning. After putting off cleaning the shed by running some other errands and hitting a couple thrifstores, we came back home and ate some lunch before donning our gear and heading out. TG and I both wore masks over our face (me a full-on canister mask since I was going to be doing most of the inside-work) and we put rubber-bands around the bottom of our pantlegs to hold them shut just in case a scurrying mouse thought it might be fun to shoot up over a shoe and further still.

After opening the doors, I banged around a little bit inside to send the mice away from the noise and slowly started pulling things out of the shed while arming myself with a small flat-ended sweeper (meant to hold a brush, but without became my smash stick). As TG guarded the door to make sure that none escaped, I did my best to corral most of them into a back corner where I could tell they were congregating anyway. At a certain point, there were lots of open spaces in the shed and mice simply tried to start making breaks for the open doors. With the first mouse I killed, I actually felt a tinge of regret, but as soon as they started zipping around my feet it turned into a swinging spree.

I cracked a couple larger mice as they were the first ones to head out and TG got one outside the door with the flat side of a shovel as it escaped. Eventually, I slowed down and scooped some of the dead into a garbage bag while we continued to clear things out of the shed. When it was all over with, we'd put down 12 or 13 of them. We hosed out the shed and nearly everything in it, and while TG was giving things a final spraydown, one little mouse that had been hiding in a corner tried to make a break for it. As he was running, he was met with the full force of the jet setting of the hose and was relentlessly pummeled into the muddy ground before I smacked him to put him out of his watery misery.

We removed all food sources from the shed and set up some more traps just to make sure, and hopefully things don't get as bad as they were. I really don't care for killing mice, but I don't want our little storage shed infested with vermin either. Fittingly, I had dreams the following night in which I was chasing after hyper-fast mice that could also jump 3 feet in the air while running through our house. I think my mouse-killing conscience was just getting to me or something...

I haven't yet written about the great mouse infestation of 2004, so I suppose this is as good of a time as any. Fortunately this story doesn't involve the creatures living inside our house, which would really be frustrating. Instead, when we opened up the shed a couple days back, we realized that a huge bag of grass seed had been torn open and spread across the floor. There were a large amount of small turdlets (shall we call them) scattered in with this mess of seed, so I tapped the floor and sure enough heard much scurrying. I could see the corner that the mice seemed to be running into, so I kept away from it and loaded up a couple mousetraps with peanut butter.

We've now caught one a day over the course of the past three days and our plan is to put on gloves and masks (I've heard of people getting some nasty stuff from mouse turdlets) this weekend at some point and clean out the entire shed. There's some stuff that can be tossed away of course, but unfortunately we have our compost piles right next to the shed (which might not be a good idea), providing what I imagine is a nearly endless food source for a small batch of mice. The goal is to remove the majority of food inside the shed (grass seed, etc), fill in around the edges of the shed with dirt again, and of course set the traps again. When I took the dead mouse out of the trap this evening, I counted at least 3 more scurrying, so hopefully we can wipe them out before they multiply again.

I don't know if I've made mention of it yet or not, but just about a month ago TG and I tore into the second bedroom on our second floor. For a couple months we simply enjoyed the fact that we had the space upstairs with no remodeling projects going on, but the fact that we had glistening wood floors in our bedroom and crappy carpet in all the others finally got to us and TG went on a rampage one day, getting not only all the old carpet and padding up, but the tile and most of the adhesive as well. Although she's incredibly tough, the fact that all the tile came up so quickly was at least partially due to most likely a different process of putting it down or some other environmental factor that we haven't yet figured out (although we're quite happy for it). After ripping tile out of the master bedroom for what was probably literally months alone, we've already managed to finish the plastering, put up a coat of paint, and sand about one-third of the floor already.

Although we really don't like setting goals with projects (simply because we know how it often goes with things taking longer), we've set a rough date of my birthday (early November, basically) to have the guest bedroom completed. Given the way we've been ripping through things, I think that we can meet that goal, but it will require some definite elbow grease between now and then (especially in regards to sanding the floors). I must say that it will be badass to have over half of our second floor completely remodeled once it's done, though.

There's an old saying that goes, "don't start what you can't finish," but I have to admit that I'm absolutely horrible at this when it comes to music. Unless my feet are absolutely held over the fire (as on the track I did for the Tense Forms website last year), I tend to whittle my time away continuously starting new tracks and then never get around to finishing any of them. In the past month or so, I've started working on numerous textures and tracks, but I haven't really sat down and gotten any of them to a place that I'm very happy with. Instead, I work on something until I can deem it partially good and then let it sit, opting instead to move in another direction entirely. I think part of the reason is that I'm still learning a lot of things musically, and it's hard for me to always know where to go with a track without sitting and thinking and toying with it a lot. Anyone can create an amorphous blob of pretty sound, but it's writing an actual song that is what trips me up most of the time.

Speaking of the above, I added three more bits to the fray this last Friday evening while sitting around and tinkering with things. One is very little more than a little fragment that sounds nice while another piece is actually fleshed out a bit and the third is someting that has me excited the most. My goal is to force myself to sit down with something until I've thought it through before I start anything else.

I'm currently reading a book about cadavers. It's good stuff. More on that when I finish. I think part of my fascination with the book lies in the fact that I wanted to be a mortician for awhile when I was in high school. Not sure when or why I changed my mind, but for some reason I did.

I almost forget to give a shout-out to Saucony (sock a knee) shoes. I bought a pair of them last fall when I was on vacation and wore them a couple times before the sole started falling off. Eventually, the sole fell completely off and it bummed me out because I hadn't worn them that much (maybe 15 to 20 times). At any rate, I called the company and they sent me a label and I sent them back and they deemed that they were defective (yeah, I think so) and sent me a new pair. Took a couple weeks and was pretty painless. I suppose all companies should stand behind their products as such, but I still told myself I'd give them a link at the very least.

In other news, Marianas is still alive. We've entered our mad scientist phase and hopefully we'll have a monster soon.

Although it came awhile ago, I finally finished reading A Million Little Pieces by James Frey earlier this week. This was a book that I'd read a lot about beforehand, and had plowed though several interviews with Frey. He's an interesting fellow, a total loose cannon who isn't afraid to say that he wants to be the best writer of his generation. His writing is just about the same, as there's a lot of swear words, a lot of gusto, and yet the thing that kept me interested in the whole thing was a vulnerability that went clear to the core at points. There would literally be points in the book where I was getting ready to quit because I simply didn't think I could care about him anymore, then he'd move forward and write something that really socked me in the stomach. I don't know if he'll be the best writer of his generation, but this book is quite an audacious beginning. While it took me awhile to get through it (mainly 10-20 page chunks at night before bed), it really was a quick read and I rolled through the last 100 pages one lazy evening instead of sitting in front of the computer yet again. Very highly recommended if you're not squeamish about extreme drug/alcohol abuse and the things that go along with it. In the end, A Million Little Pieces is a survivors tale, and it totally hooked me. Highly recommended.

This was another weekend of busting out projects and relaxing a bit. Last night, TG and I rented A Beautiful Mind, which came out many moons ago but neither of us still hadn't seen. We decided on this choice after going through the seriously picked-over selection at our local rental store (Netflix is starting to look more and more appetizing) and coming to the conclusion that we didn't want something really depressing. As it turns out, the movie was just sort of middle-of-the-road. With Opie in the director's chair, I guess I shouldn't have expected a whole lot, but since it had won so many accolades, I figured it would be worth seeing. In saying the above, I don't mean to say that it wasn't a good film, because it was fairly enjoyable. Unfortunately, it was one of those films that also always took the middle-road whenever there was a chance for it to do something interesting. Sure, the schizophrenia scenes were interesting at first, but then the extra people in his mind just sort of became more of a running joke than anything else. I guess that's another way of saying that it felt very mainstream, and maybe that's the best way of putting it. I already knew about the writers of the film glossing over some of the not-so-nice parts of the story, and it felt like they'd also simply dumbed it down a bit in the process. Not a horrible film, but not a particularly enlightening one either.

On the other hand, I rented Touching The Void this evening and I totally freaking enjoyed it. I really wondered how they'd pull off what was essentially a documentary in which you already knew the outcome, but the filmakers built the film in a super-interesting way using filmed footage to sort of re-create what went on. It didn't matter that the actors didn't really resemble their counterparts telling the story because everything was so well composed and put-together. Tension was racheted up nicely and the ending was tight. I'm a sucker for good sound editing, and it was very well-done and important in this film. I have to admit really being interested in survival-type stories in general (like Into Thin Air), and I really really enjoyed this film. Highly recommended.

Last weekend was the yearly one-dollar CD sale at the local record store. This is something that some of my scrounging friends and I really look forward to and this year was no different. A friend from work and I actually took some time off and got to the sale right as they opened the store. We weren't the only ones, and as I saw the employees being mobbed as they hauled boxes outside, I actually felt a little bit guilty. As others shoved their way in for first picking, we kind of held back a bit and tried to keep out of the way. It's bad enough being annoying to the employees who probably aren't getting paid enough to put up with that crap, but getting confrontational with other people looking for cheap finds (as I saw happen more than once) is just silly.

So, my friend and I plowed through the boxes and boxes of stuff for about an hour and we both had a good take (he had something like 46 and I got about 32). I took my loot home and then back to work with me and slowly whittled through the discs, making 'keep' and 'sell' piles as I heard things. Of course, for a single dollar per disc, I also bought several things on a whim, thinking that friends of mine would be interested in them. For a dollar, you really can't go wrong.

Because I'm a serious hunter (and because I knew they were going to put more stuff out over the course of the day), I went back that afternoon after getting off from work early and picked up about 45 more discs. When I got home again, I realized that I had huge stacks of CDs (77 to be precise) sitting around my desk and proceeded to listen to and sort even more of them into piles. After all the sorting and sifting, my final take for the couple days amounted to about 15 things that I actually kept, and many of the rest already went onto a certain well-known auction site (with some being re-sold back to a local music store). At this point in the game, I'm ahead 24 dollars and still have a stack of about 35 discs sitting at my feet. Damn, I love the midwest sometimes.

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