The mouse also looks into you.

Dammit. The cat didn’t get him after all.

I found two of the little … fellows hiding in the compost heap that lives (lived) alongside the carport.

I’ve decided the compost heap should go (which was a danger as one slight tremour and the whole thing would slide, engulfing the carport, car and all) to be replaced with a flat clean area where I can park my scooter. I love my scooter. Did I mention it’s red?

However the compost heap has been undisturbed for several years now, aided and abetted by me throwing hutch loads of used guinea pig hay on the top.

Guinea pigs, coincidentally, make great compost. Honestly, if they were the size of cows we’d have a serious industry on our hands. Perhaps the good folk at Ruakura could breed some?

So, having removed the top layer of guinea pig laden hay, slightly moistened by our lovely winter weather, I discovered several branches, last year’s (and the year before’s) Christmas Tree and enough free air trapped within the heap to create a warren of sorts large enough for two mice.

One fork in the two split up, fled in opposite directions. The quicker, and nearer, one dived headfirst into a gap and vanishes from the story. I imagine him sitting there listening, hoping he won’t be noticed and/or eaten.

The other mouse was not so lucky. My excavations had cut off Route B and so she (I’m assuming here) was trapped Above Ground and Out In The Open.

I have cat like reflexes and I pounced. One quick grab of the tail (I was wearing gloves) and she was mine.No more pillaging in my basement. No more half eaten bits of paper spread all over my garden. No more…

The problem with holding a mouse by the tail is what to do next. A quick brain-smashing flick of the wrist against the carport would do the trick. A bucket of water and a drowning would be relatively clean (although having been involved in several companies with a sinking lid policy on staff hiring, this idea left me more queasy than I would have predicted).

I could do neither. The mouse looked at me. I looked at the mouse. I went and got a bucket, popped her in and took her down to the park to release her in a bush.

It’s one thing to lay a trap and find a corpse but something else entirely to go mano a mano with a rodent. Especially one with big eyes.

As for Misty, the neighbour’s cat, she’s off the Christmas card list and I’ve got my soul back. It’s all good.

The Mouse: an update

September 11, 2008

The rodent (mouse, bunny or Otherwise) in question has ignored my cunningly set trap (peanut butter, but this time CRUNCHY peanut butter. My evil knows no bounds) and remains at large.

Or does he?

I’m thinking Misty the cat has kept Her part of the Faustian bargain I’ve struck with Her and has dispatched said mouse. In return, a dark shadow casts itself across my soul and I know, oh I know, that Harry Angel will be waiting for me on that dark day.

Until then, I can but work out my penance. Fish biscuits on a daily basis, warm bowls of milk, chasing off the Black Cat whenever he dares cross Her territory.

It will be a miserable experience and as Harry knows, it won’t end with my demise.

But on a brighter note, I’m shot of the mouse and that’s no bad thing.

WMD

August 28, 2008

I saw a mouse…
Where?
There, on the stair…

Yes, I have a mouse in the house. And he’s proving to be … elusive.

I’m not saying I’m being outsmarted by a rodent, but so far he’s eaten into the guinea pig’s food bag (which is how I realised he was there) and then (when I moved the food bag to a secure location and replaced it with the kitty litter bag) he ate into that as well!

Oh how I laughed. Ha, stupid mouse, I thought. You thought “Yum, more tasty seeds and nuts and dried banana. I shall gnaw through this large orange sack to morsels o’goodness” but no, you got… white powdery rocks! Rocks! Ha, take that mouse!

Clearly at that point, the mouse decided “Dis means wah” and it was all on. Mouse turds everywhere, newspapers chewed up for bedding… clearly I had to retaliate.

I escalated our situation from ‘Fiji Coup’ to ‘Chechnya’ by buying two mousetraps. They’re not good quality traps – both cost $1.99 from the supermarket – but they seemed simple but lethal, in a home made kind of way.

I laid the traps both with Camembert cheese (ooey and gooey and hard to get off the prong, thus ensure the trap would be triggered).

The next day both traps were devoid of cheese and neither had been triggered.

Hmmm.

I assessed the situation. Clearly here was a mouse worth his measure. A worthy adversary.

I played with the traps, moving them from clumsy to hair trigger, reset them with colby cheese and laid them out.

That evening I checked again and bugger me but the little shit had not only got the cheese, he’d somehow triggered the traps without incurring injury!

WTF?

Swiftly I moved from ‘Chechnya’ setting to full out ‘Invading Poland’ and went for the weapon of mouse destruction: peanut butter.

I coated the cheese in the sticky goodness and left the trap so close to trigger point that a deep breath by either of the guinea pigs would result in it going off.

The second trap failed instantly and managed to snap the metal bar that holds the spring back, so that went in the bin.

Late last night we heard a distinct “snap” from outside and assumed it was the trap going off.

This morning I discovered cheese, nibbled, and peanut butter (presumably slurped off from safe distance), an UNTRIGGERED TRAP and no dead mouse.

Tonight I’m going on a stakeout and will take my shotgun. Tonight, Mickey will sleep with the fishes.

PS – I know the mouse is possibly a girl, but for some reason in my head he’s a he. Go figure.

Science. It works…

November 14, 2007

I’ll endeavour not to finish that thought ala XKCD although I would like one of those t-shirts (the green ones… you’ll see).

In the mean time I’d just like to point to a variety of science stories in the field of health that have caught my eye lately.

I like health. I have one, and my wife is a big user of it. Through the last decade we’ve had between us: MRI scans (mostly her), CT scans (both), bone marrow biopsy (me), radiation treatment (also me), tonsils out (me again), fractured pelvis (her), Caesarian section (her), hip replacement (her), stealth scan (her) brain surgery, brain surgery and brain surgery (her, her, her).

So I think you’ll agree, we know whereof we speak.

First up, one of my favourite areas of medical advancement: prosthetic limbs.
Gone are the days where having your foot chopped off below the knee meant you had to sit out the spring formal in a wheelchair, slowly growing cankerous sores the size of a chihuahua on your ass. Instead, these days they’ll fit you with a funky chunky robo-foot that will make you the envy of your friends.

Just so long as it’s my left leg they come after I really don’t think I’d have too much of a problem. If both feet were squashed by a falling piano (for instance) I’d like to think I’d come out the other side of surgery with a cheery “wahoo, now can I be six foot tall? huh, can I?”.

Incidentally, if ever I’m killed by a falling piano my wife will at least know I died happy. Can you imagine going out like a cartoon character? Once they’d cleared away the debris they’d find my crushed scull and face still sneering in an “oh the irony” kind of grin.

But I digress.

One of the problems of prosthetics is that sometimes you need to use them in place of arms and hands and that blows. It took me months to learn to touch type. While losing my left leg would mean great fancy dress opportunities (arrrrr), losing a hand would be problematic at best.

Enter the prosthetic that responds to your thoughts.

Seriously, how cool is that? Two words: freakin’ laserbeams. If I can think “open” and “close” why not “crush” and “gesture” and “my eyes, the goggles they do NOTHING!” as well?

Next up (and continuing the cartoon theme) we have the wacky team at University of Tokyo which has genetically engineered a mouse that is not afraid of cats.

Seriously, this pressure to come up with new PhD ideas is producing some weird results.

Finally, and kudos to Slashdot for producing the Best Headline of the Day we have a ham radio operator told he has only months to live who has built his own nanotech device to deliver radio waves into his cancerous cells.

“Kanzius did not have a medical background, not even a bachelor’s degree, but he knew radios. He had built and fixed them since he was a child, collecting transmitters, transceivers, antennas and amplifiers, earning an amateur radio operator license. Kanzius knew how to send radio wave signals around the world. If he could transmit them into cancer cells, he wondered, could he then direct the radio waves to destroy tumors, while leaving healthy cells intact?”

The short answer is yes, it can. Clinical trials with humans are about three years away but already it’s being discussed as a way of dealing directly with tumours as they arise without the invasive surgery part.

Oh and incidentally, as a byproduct, there’s some research using the same technique that allows scientists to extract hydrogren from salt water cheaply and cleanly. Potentially it can unlock access to using salt water as a fuel.

Not bad for an amateur. That’s what I like about science – amateur participation is still possible.