Friday, June 29, 2007

The Pool Of Death

Over the past year, I have noticed a significant increase in the number of chipmunks in my neighborhood. These cute little guys are everywhere!

Well, cute as they may be, they're basically rats with racing stripes!! They are destructive little creatures. They dig up your yard, I've seen them going up underneath the neighbors' siding, they've broken through a cement patched hole in my front step, taken up residence in my garage (and made a hell of a mess in there), etc...

This year, I decided to go to war with these rodents!! I talked to a neighbor, and he had called an exterminator that basically told him it was useless...he could treat the property, but unless everyone did the same, they would be back. So, I started doing some research on the Internet. There are have-a-hart traps, sonic devices, predator urine, Juicy Fruit gum, and all sorts of gadgets and remedies. Most have mixed results based on others' posts and experiences.

But, one device seemed to have a lot of success and was so simple, I had to give it a try. It was called "The Pool of Death" (PoD) on the site I was reading. Here is a picture of my very own PoD.

Pool Of Death

Genius!! Simply fill a bucket with water (not all the way), throw some sunflower seeds in there (they float), and provide a ramp (diving board) to get to the top of the bucket. The fleabags can't resist the seeds they see/smell below!!

I know, I's cruel. But, I really don't want these destructive creatures in my garage, or worse, in my house (yes, if they can find a way, they have been known to come into houses/attics).

So far this year, I have caught about 17 or so of them (7 the first night when it was set up *inside* my garage)!!! The population is much more under control, now. I set it up in the evening about once a week and collect one or two by morning every time. They breed like rabbits (not exaggerating), I highly doubt I'm endangering the survival of the species.

a couple words of caution, though...I'm running out of grave sites (mark them, you don't wanna dig them back up!!!), and I have heard that other critters (for example, raccoons) can knock over the ramp/bucket...therefore rendering the PoD useless.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Mmm Mmmm Good!

Hopefully, Campbell's will forgive me. :-)

This is the first year (at my current house) that I have tried to grow any veggies. The *vast* majority of my yard is shaded for most of the day, so finding a suitable place is a challenge to say the least. I have contemplated this ever since I moved in. But, this year, I decided to actually give it a shot. There is a small strip along the side/back of my garage that used to be flower beds or something a couple owners ago, and that's where my little experiment would take place.

4 tomato plants, 6 pepper plants (of different varieties), basil, and cilantro were my selections (think salsa and marinara sauce / pesto). 4 pepper plants are sad...a bloom every now and then, nothing more. These are the guys on the back side that get the least light. Won't waste my time there in the future. Cilantro..I planted in a pot...well, as I learned, once the soil reaches a certain temperature, it sends out shoots and turns into coriander. Bummer.

That leaves the basil, which is doing "ok", two chili pepper plants that are also ok (I'll have peppers eventually), and the 4 tomato plants. The tomatoes are really the whole point of my little garden. There's nothing better than fresh home-grown tomatoes. These guys are doing really well (they got the best spot in my little strip of sun).


As you can see, I have several that are nearly ready, and it's not even July!! whoo hooo!!! Tonight, I picked the first one of the year (the left-most one hiding behind the front guy). He was accompanied by grilled butterflied pork chops and potatoes. Damn, was it good!! Three others are almost ready, and will be plucked within the next several days. God, I love Summer!!!!

Next year, I think I'm gonna venture out into the yard a bit further rather than go behind the garage. But, until then, I'll be happy as a pig in slop with my tomatoes!!

Monday, June 25, 2007

Bass Ackwards

It's craziness...CRAZINESS I tell you!

I stumbled upon what I think is a very bizarre rule / policy / process at work today.

See, last week, we had been asked to provide a list of all equipment we were in need of. If we had any specific needs/features in mind, we should list those, otherwise, we would likely end up with old equipment from surplus. We compiled the list and sent it off.

My supervisor advised that we work "through normal channels" for some of the items, one of which was a keyboard. So, I sent the request to the person/department that deals with smaller items like that. The keyboard we requested was one with the programmable hot-keys (you know, like virtually every other keyboard made in recent years) for mail, Internet, My Computer, etc....

This request was misunderstood, and it was thought to be for an ergonomic keyboard (the ones with the the two halves angeled towards each other). Well, it turns out that there are a bunch of those in stock, but to get one, you need to have a doctors note!!!???!!!!!

How crazy is that???!!! A keyboard that is designed to prevent repetitive stress syndrome / carpal tunnel cannot be obtained until you are already afflicted with said disease/syndrome!!!!! After you've crippled yourself, though, no problem, we'll let you have one of these that are already purchased and collecting dust.

Just seems like a lawsuit waiting to happen. I asked for an ergonomic keyboard, was denied until I am actually crippled, now I can get one. Is it just me, or is that retarded??

As for the keyboard we really wanted, it will likely have to go through a whole approval process where we have to list 3-5 bullet points of *why* this keyboard is needed rather than a "standard" one (from storage/surplus), 3-5 bullet points explaining the risk to the organization if this particular keyboard is not purchased, etc... So, it would cost many times more than the keyboard's purchase price in time/effort/paperwork to get it approved.

I'm sure glad I already have my Swingline stapler!!!! :-)

Monday, June 11, 2007

Poker Woes

This past week for poker has sucked! I have been playing in the FullTilt Message board Thursday night HORSE (Hold 'em, Omaha Hi/Low, Razz, 7-card Stud Hi, 7-card Stud Hi/Low) league. For the first 3 weeks, I haven't done too bad, and actually cashed once.

So, I'm kinda diggin' this HORSE stuff, and I started playing cash games instead of just tournaments. At first, I was doing well, but this past week...I'm down about $30 or so (I've won some back at other tables and had a few sessions where I was up)...and this is playing $0.25/$0.50 limit!! Between crappy cards, missing draws, and getting outdrawn, it's just sucked! Besides that, if I actually knew what I was doing, it might help. ;-)

Also, went to a friend's house and played Hold 'em the other night...2 places got paid...I finished 3rd. :-(

Oh well, it's a new week, I've been doing some reading, and hopefully, things will get better.