The trap

Welcome to this week’s Reno News & Review.

Let me tell you something: Nobody I know takes as much time off as they should. Almost everybody I know also works more than they should. Maybe I’m thinking about this today because I did something I rarely do last weekend. Saturday, I took off—even though I had work to do here and at home—to San Francisco. I’m still feeling a little guilty about it, to be perfectly honest.

My buddy Mark Perez has built an enormous Mousetrap and has an “event” scheduled for Saturday, Dec. 18 at 8 p.m. “An enormous Mousetrap?” you ask. Yeah. Remember that board game Mousetrap? Well, Perez, with a little help from his friends, built a human-scale version. Instead of the little cage that drops at the end of the game, a half-ton steel safe drops onto whatever Perez feels like crushing. Instead of a marble, the game uses a bowling ball.

You get the picture. It’s a huge, whimsical contraption made out of wood, iron and steel. It’s got about 300 gallons of multi-colored paint on it. He put a lot of work into it. Anyway, he sent me an announcement about Saturday’s show, so I figured maybe he could use some help getting ready. Maybe I figured he could use some help, maybe I was just looking for some momentary escape. Perez was barely surprised to see me. I helped him add a new mechanism with a series of bumping bowling balls that ends by triggering the safe to drop. I helped paint it and another piece rust-red. On Saturday afternoon, I met a painter and a photographer, who also contributed labor.

That Mousetrap is a pretty powerful symbol for our society these days. There are directions to the Haunted Barn, the Mousetrap’s home, at In fact, you may want to feel around the Laughing Squid network, where the Mousetrap home page is found. There’s some stuff in its hidden crannies that may inspire you to take some well earned time off to head to the Bay for some peace of mind.