I hate skunks…

So I had an adventure this evening.

There was an awful racket outside. The cat was running around like crazy. So, I opened the door (the porch is screened in) and *BAM!* skunk. I don’t know if my opening the door frightened it or if it was already pointing its bum at the cat, but I know now that having freshly skunked air in your face is incredibly unpleasant. So now, the house smells awful.

Tomorrow’s project appears to be airing the place out like crazy (it’s too cold right now, and I dread doing it with my allergies as they are). But… it has to be done. I suspect I’ll be using a LOT of vinegar, because the inside of the house stinks bad. I’m not sure how much of it got into everything, but I hope none of my books are ruined. Ugh.

For the record… I hate skunks.

Update: October 23

Turns out the cat doesn’t smell quite as bad as I was expecting. This mixture seems to be the only thing that works effectively at removing skunk odors from hair.

Also, I spent about an hour and a half cleaning down the porch this morning using a ripe mixture of vinegar, liquid dish soap, and floor cleaner (Fabuloso–the purple stuff). It worked great! Now the outside of the house smells better than the inside! Although, scented candles are helping with that–as did airing it out this morning. I don’t think as much of the aerosol got into the house as I estimated last night. It seems it was just the smell that leaked in from outside!

Update: Evening of October 23–it’s almost midnight!

You’d never know a skunk let off at point-blank range. Apparently the concoction I used on the outside of the house worked well enough to eliminate the skunk smell. There’s a slight odor inside, but it’s incredibly difficult to detect. I also cooked up a massive batch of twice-cooked French fries (the correct way of cooking them), so the only thing I can smell right now is the wonderfully delicious odor of cooked potatoes. It’s a delightfully pleasant smell. I’m going to be hungry in the morning.

The cat, however, didn’t fair quite so well–well, not completely. We had managed to wipe down one side of him, and I wasn’t keen on putting him through much more trauma than the skunking incident and two vinegar washes. Thus, while he was relaxing on the chair, we managed to wipe down his head, ruff, and one side of his body with the peroxide mixture. It worked so well, you’d never know he was zapped by a polecat. His right side and most of his back on the other hand are two entirely different stories. He’s still pretty ripe himself.


Popping like Popcorn: A Tale of Four Capacitors

…and Why I Haven’t Updated in a Few Days

An astute reader might recall the so-called “capacitor plague” from the earlier part of this decade. The general consensus holds that the plague of failing capacitors originated from corporate espionage and the theft of an electrolytic formula minus a critical component. Without the critical component–a stabilizer–charge and discharge cycles combined with their respective heating a cooling would eventually generate a build up of hydrogen gas, triggering a potentially catastrophic failure of the capacitor.

I recall reading about that in 2005, because it was then when the influx of failing boards that had integrated these capacitors from the years previous began to hit computer repair shops. I was working for TCI during my fall semester of that year, next door to MDC Computers, and I recall that for several months, they were tending to nearly a machine a week suffering from “bad caps.”

When I left to finish my studies, I thought that the faulty capacitor problem would be destined to become a distant memory. In December 2006, I built my existing workstation; it was reasonably inexpensive, and I’ve always had an interest in building and integrating the components of my own volition, but I never realized that a fairly critical component would fail about three years and three months later due to precisely the same reason that had kept the guys at MDC insanely busy for months. Read more…


easy_install Fails under Windows

I’ve seen a few questions on various Python mailing lists ranging from TurboGears to SQLite that appear to be centered around failures of easy_install under Windows. The problem generally manifests itself during the installation phase of a package with the cryptic message “not a valid archive type.” (Python supports zip, tar, gzip/bzipped tars, and so forth.) Oddly, I’ve never come across a reasonable answer!

Thankfully, this particular issue isn’t difficult to solve!
Read more…

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