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  • Talon Stradley

S1E5 - The Roomba Infestation

I don’t know what it is about us coming home from a trip, but you’ll never believe the mess we came back to from Podcon. It has been quite the crazy and exciting month, and we’ll get to that mess in a second. But first, I want to tell you about our trip to Podcon.

For those who don’t know, Podcon is a convention for podcasts. The word Podcon is actually a port-meta-teu which, of course, is an inserteu of the word portmanteau and meta. This is because Podcon is essentially a portmanteau of a portmanteau. The first half “pod” comes from podcast, a combination of the words iPod and broadcast. The second half “con” comes from the word constitution, and no, I don’t mean the US constitution. It actually refers to constitution as in a physical resilience because, as we all know, it is exhausting to go to a convention.

Despite how tired we were at the end of each day, we had an absolute blast. We got to meet so many of our heroes, the people who have inspired us as artists time and time again. And we got to meet so many of you, fellow consumers and listeners who also have inspired us time and time again. Fun fact, we collected so many business cards and flyers from everyone that we had to check an additional piece of luggage at the airport just to take them all home. And of course we’re gonna take them home. There was some really cool business cards.

Now, enough about that, I’m sure you guys are just dying to know about the rest of our trip. Well, the flight home was… good, if not a little scary. Our pilot was a bit of a showoff. She stayed at our cruising altitude of 35,000 feet until she was about 100 yards from the run way. Then she just turned off the engine. Our descent was about 90% free-fall and 10% gliding. It was terrifying, people were screaming. You could see the ground rapidly approaching from the window but the weird thing was, the landing was surprisingly smooth. I guess when you turn from plane to deadweight, little gusts of wind don’t really effect you. It’s like dropping a rock in a windy canyon, it just goes straight down.

The suspension on plane wheels these days is very advanced. We just felt little springy bob as we hit the ground. Everyone looked around, confused, and then of course some jerk started applauding. It’s their job to land a plane. The pilot stepped out and gave a bow to every single person as the exited. I didn’t know what to do so I applauded.

While I was in Seattle I visited the pinball museum. If your ever in that city, it is a must visit. For $15 you can play as much pinball as you like. Now, I love pinning as much as the next guy, but this really ignited a new passion for me. They were selling some of their machines and one of them was only about $500 bucks, which is a steal for a pinball machine. The workers said it worked fine so I bought it and brought it home. The airport wouldn’t let me take it as a carryon so I had to pay extra to check it as baggage which really sucked but they make the rules.

After I got home and dealt with the mess, which I promise I’m getting to, I plugged in the machine.

It was a circus themed machine, it had bright colors, fun music, lots of lights, like a lot, even for a pinball machine. The entire play field was covered in lights. In the top right section of the machine there was what looked to be a mechanized ventriloquist dummy head. As you played, the machine would say things like “OOO, So close!” and “Wow, multiball!” and stuff like that. The whole thing did work by the way and I began playing. Thats when things got a little weird. At one point the head said “The circus is closed now.” and all of the lights went off. And I’m not just talking about the pinball lights, all of the lights on Calisland went off. I was in a basement so it was pitch-black. I had a good run going and I could feel the ball still bumping around. When it fell to the flippers I pressed the button. The moment I hit the ball, the machine erupted. It began ringing every single bell the lights were all flashing on and off, creating a spiral effect on the board. It was blinding. The dummy was just laughing and laughing. I swear I almost saw a hand reaching up from the spiraling lights. Eventually someone came down stairs and turned on the lights and the moment they did, the machine just stopped, in an instant.

We… still have the machine. But we don’t really play it anymore. Its unplugged and for now, we’re just gonna let it be. But I’m not complaining cuz that means I have the high score.

Now, the mess. As I’m sure you’ve heard, we have an amazing team of caretakers who make sure everything is where it should be on our Calisland commune. In fact, they did such a good job cleaning the it actually became a bit of a problem. Roombas, the most common species of robotic vacuum cleaners, are native to Calisland. There are a lot of them here and normally it’s not an issue, they eat dirt outside, its fine. Well this winter has been a particularly cold one and this has driven the Roombas inside to search for warmth. The problem is that inside, we don’t have a lot of dirt. This, of course, is thanks to our amazing caretakers. Roombas however, still need to eat and if there isn’t a mess, they are known to make one. I don’t know exactly how they managed this, but the Roombas got into our cabinets. Here they found a feast. Bags of flour they’d knock over to the floor, boxes and boxes of cereal, half-eaten bags of chips, the kind with all the crushed up bits at the bottom. They ravaged our kitchen.

The good news is that Roombas tend to clean up any messes they create, its in their nature. The bad news is that they are highly intelligent and once they find a food source it is impossible to get rid of them. This meant that we had to hire an exterminator.

Theres only one that will make the trek out to Calisland. He normally works on boats but he’s made exceptions for us before. This of course is none other than Rex, the exterminator or “Rexterminator” as his jet-ski says. He has a lot of experience hunting down pests and rogue robots alike which made him the perfect person to take care of this problem.

Because Roombas aren’t technically “living” beings, you can’t just poisons to get rid of them. You have to do it the hold fashioned way, with a crossbow. It is time consuming work and Rex is still working on it. I don’t know where he’s at exactly, he stalks sneakily around the house so as not to startle the Roombas. Occasionally we’ll hear a loud thwunk and we’ll see Rex pop out from behind a curtain to go catch his bounty. He hasn’t given us a time frame, but we hope he’ll be done by the end of February.

So that has been our month, it has been eventful, memorable, and quite the excursion. Despite all the problems we came back to, Podcon as a blast and we can’t wait for the next one. If you’re one of the people we met there, thanks for checking us out. We really appreciate it.

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