ReMix: Conker's Bad Fur Day "Rhapsody in Poo"
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So a few months ago I noticed strange sounds emanating from my attic. It became clear pretty quickly that it was one or more animals, based on scratching and running noises. I tolerated it for awhile, but eventually it became too annoying, and woke me up on several occasions at 5:00am and earlier. Clearly, something had to be done. I decided to venture upwards into my attic, which I had never actually done before, and discover the source of the shenanigans. Donned with boots, a coat, gloves, protective NYY headwear, and a trusty flashlight, I went into my closet, hoisted myself up, and entered the lair of the beast(s). My attic is full of blown-in insulation - mountains of fluffy white stuff - so whatever it was dwelling in my abode had the perfect camouflage to move about freely without being detected. Think of the "Shutdown all garbage compactors on the detention level!" scene from SW - you get the idea. Furthermore, this isn't a finished attic, so I had to be careful to step only on beams, lest I fall through my own ceiling. The Portal gun would have come in handy in this instance, no doubt. After some dimly-lit investigative work, I found one of the culprits, hiding tentatively behind the rim of my front gutter, where just enough sunlight crept through that I could see his beady black eyes staring back at me.
Conker had invaded my home.
And he had brought his sweetheart with him. Yes, the uninhabited fourth floor of djpretzel's residence became habited in late 2007 by squirrels. Northern Virginia actually has a squirrel population problem, and two of the buggers decided they preferred the warmth of my end-unit townhouse's attic to more natural (and less man-made) accommodations. I naively attempted to scare them away with my bizarre attire, flashlight, and a sequence of varied hisses and other sounds I thought might make me more intimidating, but - as later research would later unearth - it turns out that while skittish in some environments, squirrels are very territorial, and once they find a pad they're groovy with, they're tenants from hell. I returned down from whence I came, defeated, and looked into alternative options for bushy-tailed rodent eviction.
Problem is, there's not a lot of good ones. I found one interesting story about someone who threw a boatload of RAID flea bombs up into his attic, which apparently did the trick, but later he experienced an unpleasant smell and maggots seeped down into his light fixtures. Pass. There was some sort of gizmo I could buy that apparently flashed a bright light that the website promised squirrels would hate, but damn if I was gonna pay three digits to turn my attic into a disco just to get rid of some nature. Finally, I looked at a professional trapping service that would both trap the animals and perform whatever repairs necessary to prevent their re-entrance. I called them up, but the price still seemed too high, and I was reluctant. It was then that I concocted my master scheme: I would leave my closet closed but the entrance to the attic open, in the hopes that one or both of them would come down and be unable to go back up. The problem with this plan was that it stopped there - like our operations in Iraq, my strategy was weak on endgame. I put my plan into motion, and several days later heard gnawing emanating from said closet - voila! My genius had paid off! However, I now realized that further actions would be necessary, and had no agenda. A full day passed while I deliberated, during which said squirrel scratched on my door and pooped and neglected to disappear, as I had clearly hoped would somehow magically occur.
It was time to enact Phase 2 of my plan: using a combination of chairs, screens, and other household items, I would build a "squirrel corridor" leading straight to my bedroom window. I would flush the squirrel out of the closet, through the makeshift hallway, and out my window, and that would be one down, with one to go. Brilliant! It also had the pacifist touch of not being directly responsible for harm done to said squirrel. Sure, the fall from my window my hurt him (or her) a little, but these animals jump proudly amongst the tall trees, of which several were nearby, so it was reasonable on my part to assume he would scuttle away, perhaps only with a minor limp, and find a safer attic to nest in.
This plan was, in retrospect, even dumber than my initial strategy of capturing a squirrel in my primary closet. Let me tell you something about squirrels: they color outside the lines. They think outside the box. Or, in this case, outside the corridor. Conker escaped my seemingly impenetrable structure quite easily, and proceeded to run under my bed. For the next hour and a half, I tried to assist this animal in exiting my house through my window, all the while wearing boots, a thick coat, my Yankees hat, and wielding a Swiffer broom rod with the end removed as my primary tool. One of Swiffer's slogans is that it "Gives Cleaning a Whole New Meaning," and damn if that wasn't the truth in this scenario. Finally, I was mentally and physically exhausted, and decided that there was no other option. Conker was in my bedroom, he wouldn't leave, and humane measures were failing miserably.
I cracked. A small piece of me died. The squirrel needed to go. And thus... the long arm of the Swiffer rod threw my enemy down and smote his ruin upon my carpet. It was quick, it was clean, and while I was legitimately upset at having to do it, I had a rodent-free bedroom and closet once again. I'm not proud of what I did, but I believe, due to the inherently flawed plans that I had set into motion, that it was the only option.
Weeks later. Dinner. Spaghetti with these really awesome Chicken-Apple sausages thrown in. Clawing. Gnawing. Scratching. The squirrel left behind was making its presence known, and yet again I was faced with a choice. This time, I called the pros, and they've since come, removed two squirrels (another had apparently moved in since Conker's untimely demise), and fixed the hole through which animals were invading my premises. Moral of the story? Never buy a home. Get a condo or something. Rent, if you have to. The second you own a home, you start paying through the nose for all sorts of things that you never even conceived of, including squirrel removal. Conker's more fortunate peers ultimately cost me over $400 to evict.
I share this epic because ilp0 has given us our first ReMix from Conker's Bad Fur Day, and it seemed wholly appropriate to regale you with the first - and hopefully only - djpretzel squirrel anecdote. While Gershwin may be rolling in his grave due to the mix's title, it's nevertheless appropriate given the game's controversial (esp. for Nintendo) profanity and "adult themes," in addition to its profound obsession with fecal humor. Thankfully, this ReMix is *not* poo, and while the judges felt the lyrics (unaltered) and vocals detracted from the music, most were diggin' Ilari's take on the theme itself. Jesse writes:
"ah, feces. If there's any idea that cannot be expressed using feces as a medium, I don't know what it is. Nice sound to this track. The ensemble is really tight. Guitars, accordion, etc. are very well arranged. The lyrics are about shit. It's lucky you can barely understand them. I don't find the subject material particularly engaging, but I can't really think of a reason to say no. This beats out Funky Monkey Love for best music with the worst lyrical content."
The arrangement has a Russian/gypsy feel to it at points, not unlike Gogol Bordello, and maintains both the quirkiness and sheer immaturity of the source material. Props to ilp0 for picking peculiar originals; wouldn't have seen this one coming from him, but it's great. Larry adds:
"Vocal harmonization worked pretty well, making the delivery seem a lot more solid than the last sub. The lyrics were only quirkier given a few of the words being changed or mispronounced, and I loved 'em. "How about some scat, you little twat." That's great. Some production issues, but not enough to hold this back. A great example of how to do a cover with a lot of interpretation and personal flair."
So, there you have it: my squirrel story and our first Conker mix, a one-two punch filled with torrid tales of love, loss, Swiffers, and excrement which maybe - just maybe - will teach all of us a little bit more about who we really are, on the inside.
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