Eternal Damnation

Karens, cockroaches, and blood parasites will survive the apocalypse. I know this because Fallout told me which bugs will mutate into low-XP enemies. And Hollywood showed me how I’ll die horribly. And Karens will always tell me what I’ve done wrong, and will always exist in some form. If there were a just and loving God, then the bugs would kill the Karens. But there obviously isn’t if the apocalypse were allowed to occur. That would be a vengeful and punishing God. The Old Testament told me that.

Fortunately I live in pre-apocalypse times, so the bugs are smaller. The Karens are more numerous, but I’ll take the tradeoff. Here’s my latest attempts at blood parasite mitigation:

Bacillus thuringiensis subspecies israelensis. I stumbled upon this recently. The concept is as follows: put a bucket of water somewhere, fill it with debris so it mimics the kind of stagnant pools that mosquitoes like to lay their eggs in, and inoculate it with a mosquito dunk, which is a block of dormant bacteria (species mentioned above) that infects and kills insects. The idea is to gradually decimate the local mosquito lineage as they reproduce, with the caveat that the trap should be the only pool of standing water available. Persistence is the key here.

For more immediate needs, I use a fogger. But the compounds it uses are sold very diluted and are more repellent than lethal, obviously targeted to the casual consumer. Instead, I purchased something that’s more of a commercial variant: a standard Pyrethrins/Piperonyl Butoxide mix, as is growing in popularity. As a bonus, it’s considered “safe” for agricultural purposes. The latter chemical disqualifies it from being organic certified, but it’s better in theory than much of the long-living spectracides. And I enjoy seeing cucumber beetles flee in terror. Finger of God indeed.

And lastly, in an attempt to capture adult mosquitos actively searching for blood, there’s the lactic acid-baited UV trap. The bait simulates the smell and CO2 emissions of a human, and upon getting too close the mosquito is pulled into the trap via a fan and held in a basket where it’s exposed to UV light, killing it. This captures a lot of moths as collateral damage, probably more drawn to the UV, but we don’t like those either.

I have it on a smart timer that comes on one hour before sunset, with the goal of starting capture during optimal hunting time, with a dawn shutoff.

Results so far have been encouraging, though gross.


The verdict so far? Fewer mosquitoes, but they’re not gone entirely. I think I’d need to get my surrounding neighbors onboard, but I know that’s not going to happen. Regardless, I’ll settle for the net reduction, and hope the remnants are primarily biting the neighbors instead.


Zone Rouge Hazards

Following the First World War, sections of the former No Man’s Land in France and Belgium were deemed uninhabitable for the foreseeable future, due to their lingering high levels of soil contamination of lead and various chemical weapons. These areas, assigned the moniker “Zone Rouge”, were quarantined and allowed to return to nature.

Following the Great BP Easement Purge of 2017 in Centerville, OH, lands that were formerly allowed to return to nature and then cleared, were in part allowed to return to nature again after some neighborhood hostilities. Their efforts to block us from view involved the planting of many conifers, which have gradually expanded to almost accomplish such a task. The Landscaper, who no doubt planted them at the behest of his screaming harpy, was considerate enough to do so in a manner that considered a property line buffer. It was a perfectly acceptable way to approach not wanting to see us.

The impetus to do so was upon the completion of the the BP Purge, followed by us deciding to get a professional survey of our property line, which revealed the former green belt to be primarily ours – a revelation that upset more than one neighbor, for now they were forced to utilize their own land to plant new screening, effectively reducing the perceived size of their own property. I mentioned this before, but I’ll say it again here: Surveying your property line might not make you any enemies, but it will definitely not make you any friends.

But moving along, as these conifers grew, the buffer shrank. Because trees grow. And while they had previously mowed this buffer, it shrank to the point that they couldn’t get their wide-track mower into it, because that would have involved mowing onto our side and we had since installed shrubs and gardens – with stakes to prevent any “accidental” landscaping incidents. A normal response would have been to tackle the buffer with a smaller push mower or a weedwhacker, but as The Landscaper had since been kicked out and the chore now the responsibility of their indifferent son, they instead decided to just ignore the buffer.

Which is why I call it the Zone Rouge. It’s a post-conflict abandoned strip of land. And occasionally and irregularly poisoned with isopropylamine salt of glyphosate, courtesy of the The Landscaper’s replacement (the new guy the Harpy’s fucking).

I, however, refuse to allow my property to return to the “communal” green belt. This makes my own landscaping somewhat more difficult, and hedge trimmers are now required to maintain the delineation. But there’s a greater problem at large: wildlife. Specifically, the insect variety. The blood-consuming variety. And they like overgrown flora to hide in.

To exacerbate the issue, the corner of the neighbor lot floods regularly. A french drain or perhaps a berm might reduce that problem, but as I have so subtly suggested previously, these aren’t exactly people who do anything to contribute to the community at large. Nor are they outdoorsy. So to them, “doesn’t impact me” = “I’m not going to do anything about it even though it might impact others”. Which is also why they haven’t put up any sort of containment system for their dog which constantly shits in everyone else’s yard. They’re a little young to be boomers, but they sure have the mentality.

Anyway, so following this long-winded complaining intro about bad neighbors – we have a mosquito problem. Which I have taken some steps to mitigate!

But I’ve recently received feedback that my shorter posts are more entertaining, so I’ll make this a two-part post! Haha! Teaser. You’ll have to wait to read about mosquito eradication techniques.

And now, a word from our sponsors…


Aire de Vita

Carbon monoxide is a fun little chemical. I think we’ve all been given the primer by our local fire departments when we were kids, or at the very least were taught that smoke is the main killer in a house fire. Stay low and GTFO. I like that. New motto, kids!

And as a basement-dweller with a 40-year old furnace, I was forward-thinking enough to install a CO detector. However, it turns out that symptoms can appear before air concentrations reach the alarm point. In my case, 24ppm (alarms are calibrated to sound at 30ppm). So the kid and I had a fun evening of nausea, fatigue, and headaches; but no alarm clued us in to the problem.

The mystery was solved with a visit from our preferred HVAC technicians, because at this time the furnace wasn’t running consistently and the fan wouldn’t shut off. The diagnosis was that the heat exchanger-that steel compartment that separates combustion gases from the breathable air-was cracked. Ergo, exhaust was leaking into living space, which triggered a failsafe that kept shutting off the gas and overriding the thermostat to continually circulate air to avoid toxic gas buildup. Win for ancient furnace engineering, I guess. I mean, I didn’t chemically asphyxiate. Huzzah!

So we needed a new furnace. But why stop there? The A/C was just as old, and a major energy sink. What we needed was a massive technological improvement!…within budget. The answer, of course, as with most things in life, was a spreadsheet.

Three companies may not have been the largest sample size, but it gave me a pretty good idea of what was out there. Here are my conclusions:

  1. Every company will offer you a system based on your usage of the property. Similar to how my own home’s former owner ripped everything of slight value from it before listing, so too do HVAC companies offer the most basic, inefficient, and cheap of systems which are shamelessly labeled as “for rental properties” or “if you need to install a new system to sell the house”. Because, fuck the next guy or the broke-ass renter. These base models aren’t offered by the sales folks once they know you’re not selling or renting, which, in their defense, the homeowner wouldn’t likely purchase for himself anyway.
  2. The quality of the components is not a linear price function. Every step up in price nets something much better. There’s a formula here somewhere. It certainly makes getting the high-end equipment easy to justify.
  3. Some of the companies will put more emphasis on the equipment, and others more on the guarantees and warranties. This is why I looked up all the model numbers after I got quotes. The manufacturers all include a standard 10 year warranty anyway, so the additional peace of mind comes from the installer’s warranty. And like getting an extended warranty on anything, this locks you in with the 2nd party and costs a lot, for a problem that probably won’t happen and could be fixed for less by someone else.

So what did I get? Why, the best equipment for the best price from the most reputable company for the standard manufacturer and installer warranties! I now have a variable speed A/C with a dual-stage furnace, with a 97% efficiency rating.

Granted it cost a few thousand more than a base model, and it’s uncertain how long it’ll take to recover that with reduced energy costs, but I sure am glad I did the research and avoided getting taken for an inflated price on inferior equipment with an unnecessary warranty.

Also, they threw in a UV sanitizer and electrostatic air purifier!

And while I won’t likely hook up my thermostat to the internet, or use its scheduling function anytime soon since we work from home, it’s pretty cool to have preset modes of temp ranges.

And no more CO poisoning, hopefully.

The future!


Bonus Bias

A man’s mark of success is in his ability to pay for family necessities.

Well, that and to work hard for that money. But also to have a rewarding career doing something he loves and will change the world. But mostly to be able to take care of his family. But not that that means his wife shouldn’t also have a career, because that’d be sexist. But she shouldn’t be forced to if she doesn’t want to. But don’t suggest that she not. And be ready to pay the bills if she wants to be a housewife which she could totally do if she wants but that’s her choice but it’s a man’s responsibility to support her if not, not that there isn’t anything wrong with being a househusband if that makes more sense economically but know that you’ll always be judged for not being able to take care of your family financially even though it’s totally acceptable in these times to be a househusband except that it isn’t. And you’ll be identified immediately as a pedophile if you go anywhere in public with a kid and there isn’t a woman around, because all men are either rapists or potential rapists. Especially if you’re a loser who doesn’t have a job.

(I couldn’t help but eye-roll a little at Ferrera’s breakdown monologue in the Barbie movie. It sounded pretty juvenile. The double standards exist in the manosphere too. I guess she just needed to vent and the pretext of the fantasy world she was in justified it.)

Fortunately for my own societally-defined personal sense of worth, I’m a high enough level at work to get an annual bonus! And I have the honor of spending it on family necessities, so I get to keep my man card! Necessities such as Invisaligns, dog dental work, and federal taxes! Woohoo!

Meanwhile, Liz spent hers on this:

New couch, coffee table, shelving, and whatever you call that narrow table shelf thing against the wall.

I admit things do look nice.

So I think I need to buy another gun after all. I need a selfish gift for…motivational purposes. Yeah. A man needs to feel reckless at times too. And the gun would be able to protect the family. Wild man energy combined with a protective instinct. Total man card points there. Internal contradiction resolved.

Damn is proving my manhood exhausting. I think I’ll take a nap on that couch.


Idiot Homeowners Pt. 2

One Friday evening I was pacing around the house, trying to think of something to do. It’s rare I feel boredom, as my expanse of hobbies and family obligations keep my working memory filled with tasks that I spend a lot of time triaging while staring out the window. And it was in this rare moment of boredom that I went against my better judgment and dared to offer a dissenting opinion on a benign topic of conversation I was at that moment casually having via text message with my sister.

Single people have a lot of time on their hands, and how they choose to fill it can be downright confusing to the married and parenting counterparts. They seem to all feel the need to subtly justify their life choices by offering commentary on their busy schedules and how important they are in their professional lives, and always without any prompt to do so. I assume that it’s just an insecurity, combined with the lack of a close personal relationship with someone comfortable enough to tell them to shut up.

These people also feel the need to bait you into an argument. Under the pretext of academic discussion. So that they can use their vast amounts of free time to fight their insecurity by trying to demonstrate a moral or intellectual superiority.

I somehow managed take the bait on this occurrence because I didn’t think there was an argument, because I wasn’t disagreeing necessarily. The discussion was on whether the novel Dune was a ecology story. This was rationale, apparently, by our father to get my sister to read the book (they’re both ecologists). I was amused by this, and pointed out that there would be a large amount of bias behind this categorization because of our father’s background. I posited that sure, that’s one of the themes, but one of the lesser ones compared to the larger story, whose themes included psychology, philosophy, anthropology, economics, and metaphysics. It was not the correct answer to end the conversation.

(Amusing aside: the Dune story came up at work and someone mentioned their take, that it was “a deep look into human psychology, culture, behaviors, politics, relations, etc.” Interesting. I guess that makes two of us that are wrong.)

Fortunately, my out arrived in the form of a ceiling light in the remodeled bathroom that had dislodged from its mount and was holding position only by the attached Romex. Having been pulled abruptly back to the land of the sane, I realized the absurdity of having a literary discussion about a novel with someone who hadn’t read the novel, and I stopped responding. There were more pressing matters now at hand. I’m sure she went on to torment other people via text, so I don’t feel bad. She’ll be fine.

Now back to the project.

In a continuation of the previous Idiot Homeowner’s work, the light had dislodged because the mounting bracket was installed to a junction box that wasn’t actually attached to anything. I hadn’t noticed previously because I used the existing bracket, which had just enough tension on it to give the illusion of proper mounting. But time, and me trying to open the fixture later to change the lightbulb, overcame the drywall. And so, left with the dilemma of not being able to remove the mounting screws from the light because they were inside the fixture that wouldn’t open, I took a Dremmel with a cutting wheel and ground through the screws. The wire had been spliced into the main lightswitch, so there never was a way to control it separately. And with the main lights being more than sufficient to illuminate the bathroom, we decided to decommission the run, rather than install a new light. I properly cut, capped, and boxed the wire terminals, and Liz patched the hole.

The wires, naturally, also lacked a proper ground. It’s probably best that this wire run not be used anyway. One more fix for the books.