Squirrels suck, free downloads, and other news

That time of the week again: the Saturday life update blog.

Well… let’s see here…

Zamo was right about squirrels.

Dad’s been thwarting the squirrels in various spots, but somehow they’ve still been getting in. I haven’t heard them in the attic of the house in the last few days, but they still love the lower soffits on the east side of the house.

Dad initially insisted they couldn’t get in there, but there was at least one going insane in the soffits Thursday afternoon, running back and forth and also in the ceiling of the living room (I guess in one of the bays between the joists?) and then focussing on the northeast corner.

Then again on Friday morning from about 7am onward until he got here at 10am.

Sure, enough, when he got here and pulled the soffit down in that corner:

That hole wasn’t there the day before.

They also had started chewing on the edges of the plywood reinforcing and blocking he’d put up on Thursday:

Not the greatest pic since I was on the ground and reaching my iPhone up and its dark, but you can see some chipping/splintering around the edges which was also not there the day before.

The round hole at the top of the plywood there was just cut Friday morning and has a clear plexiglas sprung door on the other side with the idea that the little shits will escape that way and hopefully not be able to get back in.

We will also be replacing all the vinyl soffits with aluminum ones and there are some small gaps from the soffits into the joist bays that will be blocked off either this weekend or next week.

It’s possible the vermin might well have access on the other side of the house, getting in somehow via the roof of the covered patio, which will be addressed soon as well.

Late Fridy afternoon/early evening, I hear the scurrying in the bays, then along the east soffits again, then a bunch of noise in the northeast corner. I go into the art nook/workspace in the north-east corner of the house and look out the window to see a fluffy grey tail hanging out of the eavestrough. Then the little shit hangs upside down from the eavestrough and stares at me through the window.

Seems he got out the plexiglas trap door and was trying to get back in, which he tried for a good long while before running back and forth the length of the east side of the house, but this time outside and on top of the roof.

Which is where he’s been off and on all day today except for when my dad was outside working on stuff and making noise (this time fixing the fence where snow avalanched down off my neighbor’s roof in December).

I was awakened at 7:45 this morning to the sound of squirrel madness, looked out and saw the little shit sniffing around my bedroom window, no doubt looking for an access point. When he saw me, he ran down to that northeast corner again and went back to trying to gain access.

So… fingers crossed he’s out for good, but we’ll still be doing a bunch of fortifying, like I said.

And I’m spending the afternoon watching old Monty Don videos about the RHS Chelsea Flower Show (back when life was sane and we had such events before the old biddies and Karens ruined everything) and assembling spike strips to keep the little shits out and block their access to the roof in key locations.

While I’m harping on house bullshit, well, on the upside, the crocuses and mini-daffodils I have (that the squirrels didn’t dig up and eat over the winter) are now in bloom, even one of my anemones is in flower a few weeks earlier than last year, so that’s nice:

This fall I shall have to plant a bunch more little bulbs like this as well as more tulips (I think the ones I have have returned weaker than last year, at least some of them). And then put chicken wire over them and mulch to avoid them becoming squirrel food.

(Have I mentioned how much I hate squirrels?)

Spring garden clean-up has been a bit stalled and I need to return to that, nonetheless, I do see a ton of tulip and daffodil shoots starting to emerge, so there should be a good show shortly.

In other news, I’m plugging away at a book on music rants etc. that I initially started compiling years ago but now have revisited. I think I’ll keep it kinda like a zine, self-published, maybe 120 pages max with some art/illustrations as well as the rants, some old blog posts, some poetry and lyrics (rather than doing a separate poetry/maQLu lyrics book as I originally planned and mentioned before), some of my old stand-up bits related to music, etc.

I figured out some ordering last night and realized I have a 200 page Word document. Granted, some pages are poems that might be combined (2-3 per page), and some are just headings for essays I meant to write but haven’t, etc. But with the stuff I still want to write this month and illustrations, it’s about twice the length it should be, so I’ll be slashing and burning this week as well as writing new stuff, and I hope to be into InDesign to start putting it together by next week (famous last words…).

I think some of the content, like funny shit I emailed my best friend when sitting in on mix sessions 10-11 years ago, might well be best transformed into a comedy screenplay or something like that rather than putting it into this book/zine/whatever.

And some is just plain nowhere near as interesting to me now as it was when I wrote it a decade ago, etc.

What else… as I mentioned on Under My Skin this week—or at least I think I did—I’m starting a new comedy podcast with a pal and spent some time in Photoshop doing some weird digital collages as possible choices for our podcast cover art (y’know, the little square image you see in iTunes or whatever alongside the episodes?).

Which made me realize I kinda miss goofing around in Photoshop and I should do it more often. And I’m starting to, mostly to post on Instagram for fun, but who knows, maybe someday I’ll have enough for a book.

Anyway, here were the two also-rans of the podcast art options (with the title stripped out, lol…):

I’ll post the one we actually picked when the first episode of the show is ready, hopefully next week.

Speaking of audio shit: I posted it last week, but I’ll mention again: there are free downloads of almost all the old maQLu releases over on the maQLu site. And I rejigged Odds and Ends as a newer, better version than whatever I put out 5 years ago, and that is also a free download over there.

Some of those releases haven’t been available anywhere other than maybe the odd pirate site for years. I wasn’t really aware anyone was looking for them, but I did stumble on a couple message boards where people were asking for The maQLu Tarot (as an example) a while back, so now it’s all available. Click the album covers to download on the individual release pages, otherwise that first list of free downloads just has text links.