caro thinks

Compartmentalization, 2006/09/05:17:02

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Yesterday, while attempting to exercise the virtue of laziness, I determined that making my current module of subroutines available to the object module was viciously circular. I guess that's better than determining that what I had already written was viciously circular. Perl is not often stubborn, and it usually lets me do any inadvisable thing I want to. But this once I was glad that it stubbornly refused to let me do something stupid, as I'm sure that the result would have been a bloody mess. I'll find another way around this encapsulation nonsense, which may require nothing more than copying the subroutines from one module to another. Ha.

Oh, and a tidbit I've been meaning to pass on: To make sure a program doesn't die() when you call a method on an undefined object, just wrap the offending statement in single quotes and precede it with eval, like this:

eval '$object->$method = $value';

where some value of $object might very well be an object that is not (yet) defined. Perl will just skip that statement and move on. Priceless.
Rats enjoy a good cushy surface to lie on. They love their hammocks, and my lap, and my shirt. They sometimes curl up in the litter box, which is full of pellets of recycled paper and corn cob and so relatively soft. They also love newspaper, but they are very particular about how it is to be arranged. All the shelves in their cage are lined with newspaper so that they can walk and lie on something other than bare wire. The bottom of the cage, which is plastic, is also lined with newspaper. At least some of them can always be found stretched out on the undisturbed, flat surface of a newspaper. They will often collect bits of newspaper that they have torn up, put them into the litter box, and lie on them. There are two large plastic jars in the cage, for times when they want to nap in a covered place instead of camping in the open air. I always line these with newspaper. But the first thing they do after I've cleaned the cage is remove all the fresh newspaper from the jars, and lie down on the bare plastic. They don't clear the newspaper from the plastic cage floor, however, or from the wire shelves. Newspaper is for OUTSIDE the jars, not inside. Dummy. Pay attention!

They also enjoy hard, radically uncomfortable places to lie on and against. The wire shelves are bent up in an L shape at the edge. The rats will lie on the newspaper and hang their heads over the top of the L, so that they look like they are choking; you can look up from beneath them and see that the pressure is pulling their lips apart and pushing their teeth out of alignment. They come out of their cage to lie on the table, often choosing to drape their chests or stomachs over my metal fountain pen, their shoulders strained out in front of them with their hands dangling in mid-air, the way you would look if you hung your shoulders over a fence. They will disdain a piece of cabbage or a wad of newspaper, and instead use as a pillow for their heads a hard block of rat food, or a slice of apple, or a carrot. Currently, Taki is facing me from the cage; he is straddled full-length upon a carrot. His head is squeezed between the litter box and the bars of the cage, regular segments of his face, one of which contains his eye, squishing through the bars. He got up and walked away for a moment, ate something, groomed a little, and then returned to exactly the same position, proving that he didn't fall into that position by unlucky accident. Comfort is fine, but it has its place: there are just certain times when they prefer to be in a contorted position between a rock and a hard place. Maybe I should get some rocks for them. I wouldn't want to rob them of any chances for discomfort. Spartan rats.

They don't like to get wet--sometimes. They'll splash around in a pool of water, dump my tea on themselves, wash vigorously in my water glass, and lie under the dripping water bottle until they are soaked. They lick their entire coats several times a day and let other rats do it to them. They pee on each other to demonstrate dominance, but the rat thus pee'd upon doesn't really seem to mind it and makes no immediate effort to dry his fur. Yet they take great offense at my stroking them clean with a wet wash cloth. Very hypocritical of them, since they lick me every time they get within range.

I gave them a wading pool today. I put frozen peas in it to lure them. Soon, there was a rockin party where there had been only hot rats lying on their sides on the glass tabletop. Dragging their tails through the cool water did the trick. They preened happily. And then, unbelievably, they wanted to cuddle with the big warm animal watching them. And soon, my shirt smelled like a combination of peas and wet rat.
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