Monday, September 1, 2014

Week in Review: Raccoon Style

My school year is already in full swing, and because of it my blog is suffering a bit.  It would be easy to point to my obvious lack of time, but in all honesty there's a different culprit: motivation.  It's not as though I'm running out of material to post about, quite the opposite actually.  More often than not it all boils down into how I want to spend my free time and blogging is way down the list right now.  It is what it is... a blogging funk.

We'll see if I can do better than my current post per week pace in the near future, but I wouldn't bet on it.

On to my week in review:
This week featured five raccoon related events, but only three of them ended up in my coon trap.  Let's meet the new members of my Raccoon Relocation program!

Lady Gaga:

 People close to me ask about my raccoon escapades pretty regularly and one of the more popular questions is, "Are you sure you aren't catching the same couple of raccoons over and over?"  Yeah, I'm pretty sure on that front.  I drop the relocation participants off about 7 miles away and depending on how a raccoon would travel that includes crossing at least two highways and possibly a third.  Besides, they all seem to have a different personality.

Lady Gaga, for instance, was about as shy as could be.  She reminded of our cat, Mooshie, who tries to physically shrink herself into a tiny ball when it's time us to put her in the basement for bed.  This raccoon would not make eye contact and it took forever to get a good picture. 

Matthew McConaughey:

 Mr. McConaughey on the other hand was probably the second biggest coon I've trapped.  And as with most of the adults it wasn't shy about vocalizing its displeasure with me by snarling and growling.  When I opened the trap door and McConaughey made for the high grasses near the pond it was as though he was in slow motion.  He was well past his prime years and I felt for the poor little guy's joints.  Silver lining?  I think I just relocated the neighborhood raccoon patriarch!

It's been awhile since I didn't have any assistance from my wife in the naming of a coon.  She took the picture below, but there was no discussion about what we should name it before I took off for work that morning.  Laura is currently in Denver visiting family, which leaves me with naming rights! 

Aw yeah, Natalie Portman:
Personally, I think it's a toss up as to whether Lady Gaga (the raccoon) or Lady Gaga (the celebrity) is more attractive.   In this case, the celebrity wins hands down.

Natalie was the last catch of the week, and I'm starting to wonder if I've emptied out the neighborhood.  I found Ms. Portman waiting for me Thursday morning and I thought I might catch a couple more coons before Monday.  But I didn't set the trap Thursday or Friday night because of the rainy forecasts.  Even with a freshly baited trap Saturday and Sunday night brought no new participants.  I've never gone three nights in a row without any takers.  We'll see what happens tonight!

Raccoon Tally and Names:
1. Ashton Kutcher
2. Beyoncé Knowles
3. Channing Tatum
4. Demi Moore
5. Elvis Presley
6. Fergie Duhamel
7. George Costanza
8. Heidi Klum
9. Iggy Pop
10. Jenifer Lopez
11. Kanye West
12. Lady Gaga
13. Matthew McConaughey
14. Natalie Portman

Alright, so I mentioned there were five raccoon related events...  the fourth one involves my little niece in Denver.  Laura says she's sooooo cute that they're comparing her to a young raccoon.  I get it, baby animals are cute.  But a raccoon?  Seriously.  I can't believe my only niece is being compared to a raccoon!  Maybe they have her wearing a little mask around the house or something?

Number five...  The highlight of my three day weekend by far: Guardians of the Galaxy.  Since I'm playing the role of bachelor this weekend I suggested to my sister that we catch a movie.  We indulged in Mexican food beforehand and then took in what probably was my one of my two favorite movies of 2014 (Grand Budapest Hotel being the other).  I'm not sure what it says about my intelligence or personality, but Groot was my favorite character.  "I am Groot!"
 Rocket?  The talking raccoon?  Sure, he was crafty and trigger happy, but too short-tempered and feisty for me.
 Besides, I've had my fill of raccoons as of late.

 Happy Labor Day weekend, everyone!

Monday, August 25, 2014

Relocation Program In Full Swing

I was able to trap seven raccoons back in May and relocate them to a location near a wooded area, a pond with tall grasses, and a middle school.  Just think about what a dumpster full of pre-teen lunch leftovers must be like for a raccoon!  Something akin to an all-you-can-eat salad bar I'm sure.

My dad needed his trap back during the summer for his own property, but it's now back in my possession and things are once again moving like clockwork. 

In my last coon related post I showed of a picture of a very large female, who we ironically named Heidi Klum.   Since then I've made three more deposits to the middle school, which is about seven miles from my house and across a two lane highway (55mph) and a four lane highway (65mph).  They will have to channel their inner "Frogger" if they wish to make it back to my neighborhood.

How about we meet the new masked volunteers for my relocation program?

Here's #9: Iggy Pop.
 Iggy was a crafty guy who managed to somehow pull a half-dozen rocks into the cage to keep him company.

Number #10 was a cute, but very confused little bugger.  This one kept trying to run through the walls of the wire crate.  I'm sure it had quite a headache after the first few collisions.
Name?  There's a ton of popular females whose first name starts with the letter J.  Jennifer Lopez seems sad that we named this one after her.  Sorry, J-Lo!

Number #11?  Yep, that was an early morning find yesterday.  When I lifted up the trap from the river rock bed it evacuated it's bladder.  Really gross.  At least I knew it wasn't going to make a mess in the back of my ride.
Kanye West?  Yeah, I don't really see the resemblance either, but that's okay.  I'm sure the raccoons can tell each other apart, but they are all starting to look the same to me.  Well, except for that over-sized Heidi Klum.

Kanye West running for the tall grasses surrounding the pond.
Raccoon Tally and Names:
1. Ashton Kutcher
2. Beyoncé Knowles
3. Channing Tatum
4. Demi Moore
5. Elvis Presley
6. Fergie Duhamel
7. George Costanza
8. Heidi Klum
9. Iggy Pop
10. Jenifer Lopez
11. Kanye West

I'll write another update post next weekend and we'll see where we stand.  I'm hoping to catch a few more at least. In the beginning I just trying to keep the raccoons away from my wife's garden, but lately it's turned into a game of "How many more can I catch?"  I like to think I'm winning this game, but maybe there's a couple dozen masked bandits hiding out under my neighbor's deck and scheming a way to turn the table on me.  You never know!

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Wrigley Wax Is So Clutch

A couple of weeks back Paul, of Wrigley Wax, posted about a great find from a friend who frequents garage and estate sales.  He found a 45 of "Great Moments in Cubs Baseball!"

After magically transferring the audio from vinyl to compact disc he made a couple copies of the CD and then set them aside for any takers.

I bit.

Then Paul replied:

Shortly afterwards the disc arrived. 

What a great find!  I love that Paul was able to salvage some of the original artwork when making the CD.  Wrigley Wax has mad technology skills!

Thanks, Paul!

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Homemade Cat Tree!

One of my tasks this summer was to erect a cat tree for the cats to sleep on in the basement.  We have to confine them downstairs because otherwise they won't let us sleep peacefully, but that doesn't mean that they shouldn't sleep in style!

So, I spent a weekend in July making sawdust.
The posts are constructed from one twelve foot carpet roll that I picked up for free at a big box store.  I took a saw to a concrete circular post form to create the seats.  Left over carpet from previous projects in the house helped bring the project together.

The box at the base?  Gus, our tuxedo cat, likes to sleep in the box our blueberries arrive in.  When curled up he fits just perfectly.  Come to think of it, I should have used the blueberry box for one of the seat.  So it goes.

Overall, I'm pretty happy with the way it turned out and I think our two cats are as well.
Gus (aka: Captain Chaos)
Thanks for stopping by today!

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

I Love Shiny Prospects!

It's no secret that the Cubs minor league system is stacked right now with shiny prospecty goodness. So I decided to participate in a box break of shiny 2014 Bowman Platinumon eBay a couple of weeks ago.

With eight Cubs on the checklist I figured I was bound to grab more than a handful from a box, which has twenty packs of five cards within its configuration.

I've learned my lesson from past box breaks and I now only bid on ones that have a live break.  I watched eagerly and was quickly disappointed.  Three cards.  Bummer.  Not a good return on my investment.  I was okay with it, because we all know box breaks are a gamble.

Shortly afterwards an e-mail arrived with another link to a second video.  The seller didn't feel that the two highest bidding participants (myself and the White Sox winner) received good value so a second box would be broken.
Oooooooh!  Die Cuts!

I couldn't believe my eyes when I read the e-mail.  The seller didn't owe me anything but the three cards of Albert Almora (X-fractor), Dan Vogelbach, and C.J. Edwards from the first box.  Yet, I would receive every Cub from a second box because he wanted me to be happy.
A die cut and an X-fractor!

The second box was loaded with Cubs (8 cards) and two Jose Abreu cards for the White Sox winner.  Man, all I can say is the seller is certainly building up a nice stash of good karma!

Die Cuts and X-fractors aside, my favorite two cards are of Kris Bryant and Dan Vogelbach.  I believe this is only my second mainstream card of Bryant. And who doesn't love cardboard featuring the Vogelmonster?

This team set could only get sweeter if it had a ROCK SHOULDERS card.

In summary, I paid the price of about six packs of '14 Platinum for the eleven cards in the break, which includes the ten cards above and a duplicate of Edwards.  I doubt six packs would have given me such Cubbie goodness, plus I don't have unwanted cardboard laying around of random prospects from the Marlins and Rays, which I would never be able to trade away. 

I don't know how you guys feel about breaks on Ebay, but I'm feeling pretty fortunate and happy after this experience.