Now, while this has been a known occurrence for quite a while, what I think really sparked my parents to do something about it is that there's currently a hole in our ceiling, one very very very recently made, which alarmingly shows signs of having been sudden and potentially growing.
To be fair! This is not necessarily the raccoon's doing. Our house has suffered from roof leaks, and there are visible signs of water damage in the approximate area of the beginning-to-collapse-ceiling. It could be entirely unrelated to the raccoon. Or maybe the raccoon isn't directly causing it. Or maybe the raccoon just shifted the already-existing damage in a way which made it visible to us. All the same, regardless of whatever the cause was, the risk of it being the raccoon and the risk of making it worse means my family wants the raccoon gone.
They ordered a raccoon trap, but I read Sandra & Woo. (Well, read as in past tense, in that I am two or three years behind, but I read it for years.) I know a thing or two about raccoons. Not only from the comic, not only from the author (who is a raccoon buff), but also just from my own knowledge about them. They are very smart critters.
My parents' plan is catch-and-release: catch it, drive it to a far away location, and release. I am very skeptical as to the success of this plan, for many reasons. While the trap is a raccoon trap, I put little faith in it actually being able to capture the raccoon. I also am hesitant to say it is simply one raccoon up there; there could be a whole family. Even if it's just the one, even if the trap works, I am skeptical the raccoon will stay in the trap for long. Even if it does, even if the raccoon is driven fifty miles away, I am unsure as to whether it will stay away.
I have not voiced these concerns. Perhaps I should, though there's multiple reasons I haven't. Not being a naysayer unless I have to (it hasn't worked yet but it could), not knowing how to properly tackle the subject of these issues, and also, as bad as it is to admit it I kinda think the whole affair is a little funny?
I know that technically speaking I shouldn't--raccoons could cause a lot of damage up there. To an already very damaged part of the house. But in spite of how the issue should be serious, I can't help but find it a little bit humorous, I guess.
But in other news, for Red Hood Rider, I discovered that I have accidentally color-coded my characters. That seems like something which would be difficult to accomplish, but it's true. Ruby, the elemental rider of the Darkness element, has a primarily black wardrobe. Her name is Ruby (which is obviously red), and her middle name's Scarlet (also red), and her hoodie has red, and her freakin' superhero name is Red Hood Rider, but in spite of that, her hoodie is half-black, she wears black shoes, black socks, and a black mask, and most of her alternative clothing is...also black. Black sweats, black gloves, black shorts, black skirt, black casual clothing...basically, mostly black. And black is a color most frequently associated with Darkness.
Sally, the elemental rider of the Earth element, doesn't have as strong of a color code...but when I gave her clothing, her shirts were a mixture of brown (an earth color) and green (an earth color). Gary, the elemental rider of the Water element, has a white T-shirt and blue jeans, both colors associated with water.
Hannah, the elemental rider of the Air element, has a kimono which is green (an alternative wind color), or alternatively a light shade of yellow (another air color). Whitney, the elemental rider of the Ice element, has all cyan clothing, with cyan being a color closely associated with ice.
That's five right there. Now admittedly. From there it's a little more ambiguous. I have no clothing predisposition towards D.D., elemental rider of Fire. (Aside from one quick "drawing"--really messing around in a program--which has her belt be red with a golden buckle, both of which are fire colors.)
Vili, elemental rider of Energy is purple central, all the way. (Heck, Vili is her nickname from her superhero name, Violet Ranger.) Now, I wasn't sure about this one. Energy has the strongest associations with yellow and blue, with some connotations to white. (The colors of lightning.) However, I looked it up: purple is in fact listed as an alternative color for the element. So that's a firm six. (Okay so the entry for energy said anything, but the entry for lightning said purple was an accepted color for the element, albeit less common.)
Amy (despite her name, Amethyst, being purple) has an association with white--not a strong one, but there. Her skin tone is one of the palest even for vampire standards. Her clothing also tends to be white or with white accents. (Admittedly she also wears black.) Which is kinda sorta Light-element themed, though it doesn't matter that much in the grander scheme of things.
Still. That's pretty coincidental, yet it is exactly that; a coincidence. I did not design them to be color-coded to their elements, at least, outside of uniform. (Obviously in their superhero forms, they have strong ties to their element.) But the thought randomly occurred to me today for some reason that, yeah. They really are color-coded. (So I'm going to make a gag about it in-comic, probably before Amy's introduced as a rider.)
We're not done with my thoughts for today though. I mean, frankly I could have made three entries for my three separate and unrelated thoughts, but I had them all before coming to the computer, and didn't write any of them down, so I figured I might as well tackle them all at once.
Another thing I thought about is an old, old, old, old "story idea" of mine that I used to play around with all the time. I say "story idea" in quotation marks, because there wasn't really much of a coherent story. It was more like a continuously-refreshed/updated 'war game', of sorts.
Elements got added over the years, but the basic setting was me having a bunch of color-coded toys (ones which didn't fit in my bin specifically made for those toys) and throwing them together. The result was a mish-mash of various stuff. The largest and most consistent focus was on the airplanes, albeit having the exact specifications of each plane change a ton. A secondary focus (sometimes in an entirely unrelated setting) was on the foot soldiers.
But, loosely speaking, sometimes I would tie them together, and overall, the picture you would get would look something vaguely akin to this:
There were four sides, locked in an eternal war with one another, largely played out in dogfights where planes would often get shot down but the pilots would survive, be recovered, and given new planes. (So they didn't often lose pilots, they just lost craft, making the main challenge not manpower, but rather production power, to keep the necessary number of craft functional. Incidentally, this mechanic allowed me to develop characters in the form of pilots and have them actually have victories over a side without killing each other off, a huge bonus for convenience.)
They each were vying for control of a central location which all four nations have a border on (White existed to the direction loosely northeast, Red existed loosely northwest, Gray existed loosely southwest, and Blue existed loosely southeast--this, too was always consistent 100% of the time), in this case, basically a super-advanced, high-tech mega-cannon none of them were responsible for creating, with mysterious origins. Not so mysterious was its capacity: highly-pinpoint-accuracy, high-speed rapid bombardment of bombs each capable of leveling a city. It could fire into the air, too, destroying aircraft, or hit the ground, wiping out whole armies. In short, a doomsday superweapon, vastly devastating, which all wanted in order to win the war.
One of the strongest of the four nations was Red: Their main strength as a superpower was their very, very, very strong industry. They could pump out machines faster than basically any nation. In a war where the main problem isn't manpower but rather production power (see above), this basically made them the consistently largest contender for taking it all.
They had six units (units being my generic term for "I have this many representations of them, and these representations are loosely equivalent for each unit type, be it a standalone troop, a squadron, a battalion, or a full army") of a super-advanced type of tank, better than any of the tanks of their rivals, owing to this industry.
They also had one unit of each type of the four plane types. (Plane type stats changed constantly, but the below are loosely the overall guidelines I put in place.)
One, a light aircraft with minimal weaponry/armor, was what I called the scouter/bomber. It could be loaded up with lots of fuel or lots of bombs. Fuel, for advanced scouting of enemy territories. Bombing, self-explanatory. These are the light aircraft that make up the backbone of a good fleet, even though they're weak/vulnerable in a dogfight.
Two, a light aircraft with minimal armor but decent weaponry, was what I've loosely deemed the interceptor. It specialized in quickly coming in to stop scouters/bombers. It was the most maneuverable of the three normal craft, and also the fastest, plus had the highest altitude, just with light armor and only medium weapons.
Three, an aircraft with heavy armor and weaponry, was what I've loosely deemed the fighter. While the slowest of the three standard craft, they were difficult to shoot down and able to shoot down both of the above once they got close enough to enter into a proper fight.
Four, a specialized super-advanced and super-costly and super-rare prototype of a plane, was what I've deemed the raptor. Not one of the standard three craft. While under normal circumstances it had drawbacks, special advances in technology let it be the fastest of any craft (albeit temporarily, with its normal speed being the slowest), with more bombing weaponry than a bomber (albeit not in amount, just in potency), with the heaviest armor, and climb as high as any, with by far the highest maneuverability of them. A sort-of super-plane, especially when factoring in its special missiles, something no other plane has. Basically, a "cheat" of a craft, faster than any, as high as an interceptor, more maneuverable than any, heavier armor than any, heavier weaponry than any, more functions than any.
The reason there aren't so many of them is for a combination of reasons. Namely, it being super-expensive to mass-produce them and also super-difficult to actually pilot the craft. So while these craft are the elite responders in a dogfight/aerial assault, they are also not something everyone has for good reason. If it were easy, everyone would have them, but it's not so they don't. Red, however, has one.
The main weakness Red has is that they have one standard unit of infantry--only one. Tanks can only do so much damage on their own. Same with air superiority. Most of their manpower is spent boosting their industry, so they have very little left to man their assault, which is the main factor in why they don't dominate.
Their main rivals in sheer air superiority level would be White. White held three scout planes/bombing planes, an interceptor unit, and as with Red, a raptor unit. Lacking anything of a special quirk (all of the powers have one, save white), their special quirk is, in a sense, the skill of their pilots. Namely, those three scouts? Capable of fighting toe-to-toe against superior planes in a dogfight. Their interceptor? Able to gun down enemy fighters. Their raptor? Inferior in quality to Red's raptor, yet the pilot of the white raptor wins the majority of engagements with Red's raptor.
The other notable thing about White is that while they lack tanks, they have an overabundance of infantry. Namely, one stealth unit (basically think covert ops, on a massive scale--able to infiltrate and sabotage and subdue among many others), one advanced unit, one advanced assault unit (specializing in taking ground in a blitz attack), one super-advanced unit (basically a prototype able to dwarf almost any standard infantry), a rapid-fire unit (basically a machine gun squad of sorts focused on eliminating targets and/or grouping them together), and an advanced defensive rapid-fire unit (a machine gun squad focused on denying the advancement of an enemy via a nigh-impenetrable defense). While their lack of tanks hurts them very badly, this infantry abundance ensures they have a wide zone coverage, especially given their large air fleet and the superiority of their pilots.
The other two nations were considered secondary, but loosely considered third in power was Gray: their most notable feature, two units of a gigantic missile. This missile could be used both on the defensive to shoot down enemy aircraft and on the offensive to bombard a location and absolutely devastate it. It is one of the two weapons of war prized almost as much as the central cannon itself is for that very reason, and Gray can (and does) mass-produce these.
What keeps this from being a gamebreaker? Because Gray is otherwise relatively weak. They have no tanks. In the aircraft department, all they have is two units of interceptors and two units of fighters. Interceptors do not make good units to go on the offensive for (they are mainly for dogfighting), and fighters are meant largely to protect those going on a bombing run, not to be the ones doing it. As a result, their aircraft tend to be geared towards shutting enemy aircraft down and preventing unit advancement too far. They're largely on the defensive.
Their infantry support this tactic. They hold one advanced defensive unit (basically a better army, but focused on defending an area from attack and denying advancement), one stealth unit (same as white), and one advanced defensive rapid-fire unit. Their basic strategy--hold their territory, and prevent others from gaining new territory.
The faction generally considered weakest was Blue. Though they had once been a dominant power, at some point, a catastrophe happened and that set them back in almost all terms. They do have two advanced tanks (better than standard, but not as good as Red's tanks), plus two units of normal tanks, but their firepower is mostly pathetic. They have one standard unit...and that's it.
...Except...they also have one ultra-unit. This ultra-unit is basically the infantry to kill all other infantry, and even take out tanks or shoot down planes. It is rapid-fire, and can assault from the air. Aside from this, Blue also controls and manufactures the second of the weapons of war prized almost as much as the central cannon: a cannon of their own, able to shoot (less accurately) into the air or capable of (fairly strong) ground bombardment which--while not reaching as far as a missile can--can still reach everyone except White. (Notably, Gray and Blue tend not to shoot at each other so much, because if Gray shoots at Blue, Blue can defend against it entirely without consequence albeit not being able to counterattack; if Blue shoots at Gray, then Gray gets damaged but their counterattack damages Blue. Basically, Gray attacking is pointless as neither side gets damaged; Blue attacking is detrimental to both sides and neither wants that.)
In terms of air power, Blue isn't entirely defenseless, but they are by far the weakest, with only one fighter unit and one scout unit, mere shadows of what they used to command. On the bright side, their craft are second only to Red's in terms of ability, and their pilots are second only to White's in terms of ability, meaning that between their craft, their pilots, and their superweapons, Blue continues to get by, similarly able to deny advancement of others even if they cannot storm by force.
...Of course, there's a twist.
A fifth nation exists: Green. Previously unknown, when they enter the scene it's an absolute nightmare because they put everyone to shame.
They have three advanced tanks, equal to Blue's tanks (though lesser than Red's), and one light tank (which is lesser than a standard tank). However, they also have one ultra-tank: this ultra-tank is literally twice the size of an advanced tank (which is itself larger than a standard tank which is larger than a light tank), and has the armor to match. Worse, it has the firepower to basically one-shot anything, and its bombardment is long-range, and packs enough power to do considerable damage to an entire city. (Not devastating, but considerable damage.) Oh, and these shots? Also capable of sniping aircraft which try to take it out.
They only have one plane...but they only need one plane, because their plane, an ultra plane, puts even raptors to shame: it is full-time as fast as an interceptor, has a boost ability like a raptor that allows it to exceed any craft's speed, can climb higher than the others, is equally armored to a raptor, and carries even heavier firepower than the raptor, and this time it's both in punch and amount. And with the same missiles as the raptor has.
Infantry-wise, they also have an "ultra-lite" unit: not quite as strong as Blue's ultra unit, in that it is slightly weaker, significantly more fragile, but also is more sustainable (able to fight for longer) in more terrain with greater ease.
They also have an advanced assault unit, an air-assault unit (able to attack units in the air and on the ground, albeit much weaker than the ultra unit), an advanced bombardment unit (basically a unit meant specifically to blast to smithereens defense units), and a second ultra infantry unit: an ultra anti-tank unit, specializing in removing enemy tanks from the battlefield altogether, and being quite skilled at also decimating infantry and sieging cities.
They enter and take the world by storm. Their unique quirk is of course all these absurdly powerful units. The drawback, aside from their lack of extensive air units (which are, as noted, the most critical aspect of the war), is that they lack the production of any of the other four nations: they rely on their units not being too badly damaged/destroyed in the first place, because it takes them considerably longer than any other nation to replace damage and even slightly longer than the other nations to so much as repair damage.
I did a few times resolve the plot, but always revived it at a later time. (Until one time I didn't?) Most of the times the conflict went on until I got bored, so I never really did much. Some times, a faction would win. Green winning was considered a downer ending. Red winning, similarly so. White winning I think was the "heroic" ending, though Gray and Blue also could have cases made for them. (Gray was never antagonistic, and I don't think Blue was either. Enemies, yes. Antagonistic, no.)
I think that at least one time, a draw was reached. This might've been the last time I played with the idea, even. A "final resolution", of sorts. I don't remember how it happened. If it was all five factions, or the four original nations in an alliance (most likely led by White) defeating Green which triggered it. All the same, that was more or less the setting I cooked up.
And it's been literally years since I've thought about this. I think the last time I played with the idea had to have been at least seven years ago, if not longer. Yet every once and a while, I would stare down at the bin where they are, and look, and today for some random reason I decided, "hey, let's take inventory" and to officially try to describe the overall setting I had going.
I find it absolutely fascinating.