Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Day 8 - Human intervention

(posted by Stinkographer 2)

Happy Halloween, one and all!!!

Let me begin with an enthusiastic thank-you to everyone for your encouragement and words of advice! Some of it may prove to be quite useful. All of it was extremely entertaining. We love to read your comments, and we encourage you to leave more of them!

In the spirit of Mischief Night and as promised by my fellow stinkographer, we decided to make a small change in our experimental formula. Indeed, in order to spur a more rapid increase in potency and rate of decay, we have boosted the concentration of a single, all-important variable.

My partner's hastened departure prevented him from taking pictures yesterday, but it did not impede his olfactory observations. He noted to me that the meat's scent hadn't gotten any worse, and that perhaps it even smelled a bit less strongly than the day before. Being indoors and in a ceiling, it seemed to be drying out, which is not amenable to the rotting process. Today, in addition to bringing flip-flops and a towel as an alibi, I took my squirt bottle filled with a special mixture of dihydrogen monoxide to moisten the meat and, hopefully, get a better stench.

In this picture, the meat has yet to be moistened.

Though the odor has undoubtedly diffused through the entire bathroom, it's not very strong away from the shower. This lack of smell proliferation may have something to do with the active vents and the absence of fly larvae (maggots).

Notice the giblet sack. It seems to be slowly devouring the upper pork chop. Perhaps we've discovered a method to reanimate dead flesh? The military would be interested to hear this, I'm sure.

The ground beef soaked up the H2O like a meat sponge. By meat sponge, I mean a sponge made out of meat, rather than a sponge that absorbs meat. Perhaps the military would be interested in this as well. You'll notice that everything is glistening a bit more in this photo because it's wet. Upon application of the water, the stench was immediately amplified. On the same scale that my compatriot used previously, I'd rate it between a 7 and an 8 post-soaking... truly foul.

Based on the results of this day's intervention, I believe it would hasten the arrival of a "glorious" stench if we keep the meat thoroughly moistened, nay, drenched, for the remainder of the monitoring period...

Continue to Day 9

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Day 7 - A harrowing escape

(posted by Stinkographer 1)

Ladies and gentlemen, we almost lost today.


Before I share my suspenseful tale, I have a request for all you readers out there: we need excuses! Justifications for our experiment, should we be caught by either our adversaries or the police. Leave us comments! As an incentive, if we use your advice to get out of trouble, we'll award you the official Tufts Stinkymeat Hefty Serve 'n Store Plate(tm) upon the completion of our project! (If we use multiple people's advice, we'll divide the plate evenly among them.) But I digress...

* * *

My accomplice, indifferent to the traumatic experience I had yesterday, informed me he had a mid-term at 8 in the morning. He therefore requested that I take the plunge for second night in a row.

All was quiet as I entered the forsaken washroom. The stink hit me quite forcefully as I slid away the corner tile, confirming to that the meat was still safe and sound. The flashlight, now loaded with fresh triple-A's, shined brightly as I placed it over the ceiling.

As I pulled the camera out of my pocket and prepared to take aim, I heard a door slam.

I ducked so that the closed stall door would conceal me. Seconds later, not one, but two people filed into the bathroom! The first made his way to the other shower stall. The second hesitated momentarily, then gave a firm push on my door. It remained shut. Thinking quickly, I made a throat-clearing sound and turned on the shower. I prayed this would convince him to come back later, but he instead headed towards the sink, yelling loudly to his friend that it smelled like shit in here. I was quite tempted to correct him.

It came to my attention that the the ceiling tile was still out of place--and furthermore that the opening was glowing brightly from the flashlight. The hole was small and difficult to see at first glance, but I knew that it would surely be spotted if I left it that way. When my foe walked over to the toilet, I saw my opportunity. I crept back onto the bench, grabbed the light and slid the tile back as quietly as possible.

The guy didn't even bother to flush the toilet (some people do such disgusting things). I scarcely had time to jump back to the floor before he returned to his perch between the two stalls, waiting.

Unfortunately all my hopes of outlasting the other showerer were dashed when a third individual entered the bathroom! I had to get out of there without revealing my identity, so I did the only thing I could think of: I took off my shirt and soaked my head in the shower. I then proceeded to exit the stall, looking downward with the shirt draped over my head. I walked right past them, using it like a towel to dry my hair. A successful getaway.

* * *

For the long-term safety of our experiment, I concluded it was best not to return that morning. I'm really sorry guys! I promise, tomorrow we'll do something special to make up for it... if the plate's still there...

I suppose today's moral is an important one: The longer this project lasts, the more dangerous it will be if we get caught. I managed to escape today without speaking a word to them, but we need to be prepared with witty explanations for a variety of questions. Questions like:

"What are you doing here this time of morning?"
"Why is the ceiling opened?"
"Is that a camera?"
"Did you just take a shower with your shoes on?"
"Did something die in here?"

Many thank-you's,
Your friendly neighborhood stinkographers

Continue to Day 8

Monday, October 29, 2007

Day 6 - Hell and high water

(posted by Stinkographer 1)

Oh dear God.

"The light's been flickering off on occasion," my friend stated as he handed me his flashlight. "I think we'll need to buy new batteries. You should be fine for tomorrow though." Famous last words.

The bathroom was empty. Our decaying mass can now clearly be smelled from across the room, though at this point it's not unbearable. I entered the stall, stood on the shower bench and pushed back the celing tile. As per usual, I turned on the flashlight and set it on an adjacent tile, illuminating the meat. I reached into the ceiling with my camera, aimed, and pressed the button.

It was at this moment that the flashlight shut off. An instant later I heard the shutter click, but it was too late. Sure enough, in the darkness the camera snapped a blurred photo. About 20 seconds later the flashlight turned back on briefly, then off again. This pattern repeated itself indefinitely, with increasingly-sporadic lighted intervals.

Now, I normally hold my breath while taking photos, but the malfunctioning flashlight forced me to stand there for an extended duration, waiting with the camera poised for a period of light. Finally I decided I had no choice but to breathe normally. With my head in the ceiling, I took a deep breath and inhaled raw stench. I felt my stomach churn, but I stood my ground, continuously muttering Mahlon's famous words: "for science!"

I spent over five minutes with my head in the chamber, five minutes of pure hell. I'm only thankful that our flashlight had problems now, while the smell is tolerable enough to repress my gag reflex. On a scale of 1 to 10, where 1 is no smell and 10 is the strongest, most foul odor I could possibly imagine, I'd give the meat a 6. Mind you, I have a pretty wild imagination.

As for visual commentary, the cat food gravy seems to be drying up. The ground beef is darker than ever. Not too much new to be said except for one observation about game hen: what is that white mass at the top-left of this picture?

Here's the plate from a different angle. What IS that white thing that the chicken seems to be spewing forth? Although the idea that it's some sort of fungus excites me, I think it actually looks more like plastic. Perhaps this little guy came with a giblet sack--the guts that they leave inside the chicken to make gravy with. I guess we neglected to take those out, but apparently some mysterious force has corrected our error. Perhaps we've discovered a new fundamental force? Gravitational force, electromagnetic force, strong and weak forces--and the rotting meat force. And you people thought this experiment was all fun and games!

Of course, this presents another entertaining thought: after 6 days' worth of giblet decay, rupturing that bag may release a gas potent enough to burn a hole through the ozone layer...

One final note--Good news! The shower drain appears to have clogged, leaving about 2 inches of stale, cloudy water on the shower floor. That means anyone who smells the meat may suspect that the odor is coming from the drain instead!

Continue to Day 7

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Day 5 - Progressing nicely

(posted by Stinkographer 2)

The approach today was uneventful aside from the presence of someone passed out on the couch in the common room. I'd have taken a picture of him, but doing such things will increase the possibility of identifying myself prematurely.

The meat is definitely starting to smell with the ceiling tiles down, though not too badly. Right now it's more of a gentle decaying flesh smell, about the strength you would get with an air freshener if they made one that smelled like rotting meat (million dollar idea!!).

The ground beef has gotten darker, and the cat food has become more like diarrhea in texture. In addition, the layer of fat around the edge of the pork is becoming increasingly gelatinous. If you look closely, I think there are more white stringy things on the game hen. However, at this point I am not convinced these white threads are living entities. Rather, they may simply be part of the hen's skin, which peeled back as the it began to rot.

While the absence of insects in our photos thus far disappoints me, I suppose many residents would be comforted that we have found no evidence of critters crawling above them as they sleep. Of course, these people should also bear in mind that roaches would probably flee the scene as soon as we raise the ceiling tile. So even if they are present we probably will never know...

I've been having difficulty getting decent pictures of the meat, and I suspect that my camera is to blame. Yes, I know, only a poor workman blames his tools, but I believe my compatriot has a wider angle lens, enabling better meat-viewing. Perhaps I'll use his camera instead...

I must say, I was tempted to call 9-1-1 first, taste the meat, and then have my stomach pumped proximally.

Continue to Day 6

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Day 4 - Things start to get smelly

(posted by Stinkographer 1)

My accomplice's near-confrontation with the suite's indigenous peoples made me seriously consider wearing a ski mask on today's expedition. I finally elected not to, deciding that getting apprehended by Tufts Police would probably have a more negative impact on my career than any retaliation attempts our rivals might plot.

There is a somewhat faint but noticable scent above the shower, even with the ceiling tiles down. Upon lifting the tile, I was hit with a significantly stronger odor. The smell could perhaps best be described as wet bacon... wet bacon that had been sitting in the toilet for an hour. Certainly not any bacon I would ever eat.

As my compatriot pointed out, our photos from previous two days of photos have been a bit blurry. Today, with the additional illumination of my friend's flashlight, I was able to to take some pristine shots.

My lazy sidekick kept snapping photos from the same angle yesterday. I feel this is higly inadequate, and today I made sure to take multiple photos from different points of reference.

Notice closely the game hen in this picture. There appear to be some sort of white, threadlike objects clustered in various areas on top--some sort of wormlike parasite, perhaps? It's a bit premature to make this conclusion just yet... but here's hoping! Also, is it just me, or does the upper-left part of the chicken have a slight greenish hue?

As for the other meats, the lines fat in the bacon and pork appear to have acquired an unappealing, gelatinous texture. The ground beef has blackened on the outside. It doesn't look cooked per se, but more like it was used to sop up an oil spill. The cat food is showing some definite signs of degradation: it appears to have dried a bit on the top, but its gravy component seems to be meandering outward, underneath the surrounding meats.

Decided to take a few panoramic shots in order to gain a better knowledge of our incubation chamber. Lots of wires all over the place. Perhaps later on in the experiment I can cross two of them and send a current through the meat... though I'm a bit fearful that doing so would cause the ground beef to become alive and latch onto my face. Maybe I've played too many video games.

Continue to Day 5

Friday, October 26, 2007

Day 3 - A close encounter

(posted by Stinkographer 2)

***Stinky News Update: It is with great joy and reverence that we announce that we are now truly in the presence of Mahlon Smith! Indeed, just this morning we received a comment from Mahlon himself! Furthermore, it would seem that Mahlon, his friends, and his family are all enthusiastically awaiting the outcome of our little project! We certainly don't want to let them down, so without further ado, we present Day 3!***

Today's sojourn into the void was particularly enlightening as to the habits of the residents of this particular domicile. Upon entry to the center of hygiene (or lack thereof) I heard a shower running, indicating that we may have to do our daily check-ups a bit earlier than 5:00. Luckily there are two showers in this bathroom, and our foe had opted to use the one away from the meat. I pressed onward, knowing I had to be particularly stealthy. Thankfully my companion (the overly-anxious one who planted the meat) was not with me at the time, enabling maximum sneakiness.

The plate had remained undisturbed over its ceiling tile. As for the meat itself, little has changed. There is relatively little smell yet to speak of besides the gentle pleasant wafts of maple flavored bacon. Surprisingly, the cat food seems to present little to no odor, though it appears to to have liquefied slightly. The left end of the top bacon strip has curled slightly, probably due to drying. Also, the ground beef and pork chops appear to be darkening in color.

With my head still peering above the ceiling, it suddenly came to my attention that the shower had been shut off. I graciously eased the tile back in place, climbed down from the bench, and booked it. I heard the stall door open just as the bathroom door sealed itself behind me. No harm done.

It was to my great dismay that I discovered my photos had come out blurry. We have concluded it must be too dark for our camera to focus properly. We will utilize a flashlight starting tomorrow...

Continue to Day 4

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Day 2 - The meat has been planted!

(posted by Stinkographer 1)

***Administrative Notice: from this point forward the blog will have two writers, who will take turns updating this website on a daily basis.**

5 AM. My alarm rings. I stumble out of bed, muttering "what the hell was I thinking" to myself over and over again. My friend was supposed to grab the plate of meat from his fridge and join me outside, but he was nowhere to be found. I head back upstairs and knock on his door. I wait. I knock again. "Go away," he groans. I kick the door several times. Finally my compatriot stumbles over and opens the door. "I feel really sick. Take the meat, you'll have to do it without me." He adamantly denies tasting the cat food.

Great. Now I'm without a sentinel. I walk outside and down the dark and empty road, balancing the plate of raw meat in one palm, waiter-style. I enter the dorm and make my way up the stairs to the target location. I try hopelessly to think of what I'd say if somebody saw me. To my good fortune, it seemed that not even drunk people were awake at this time of night.

I enter the target bathroom. The automatic lights switch on when I open the door, giving me the eerie feeling that all of my actions may be getting recorded on video. I'll have to chance it. My objective is in sight. There's no turning back.

I scan the room and decide on the perfect ceiling tile to hold our experiment. Close enough to the shower head to get a steady dose of steam. Far enough from the shower vent to make the place stinky.

I get to work as quickly as possible. The ceiling tile made a loud creaking sound as I pushed it aside, but luckily my adversaries in the adjacent room seemed to neither hear nor care. I carefully lifted the plate onto the tile and slid it back into place.

I slid away a small corner tile, which gave me enough space to fit my hand and my camera over the plate. I blindly snapped about six shots, each one so off-center that only half of the plate was actually in the photo. At one point I accidentally brushed my left hand against the cat food, which imparted upon me an unpleasant coat of tender beef and liver gravy. After much effort, I finally got a decent picture.

The meat has been planted!!! The Tufts Stinkymeat Project has begun! Only time will tell how stinky our meat will get. Only time will tell how long it will take before they begin searching for the plate. Only time will tell if we'll get brutally murdered, should they ever discover it was us...

Continue to Day 3

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Day 1 - Meat Purchasing Day

Went to Shaw's on a meat hunt. As with previous Stinkymeat projects, we were looking for our meat to have the following qualities:

- Freshness
- Price
- Texture

For our experiment, one additional characteristic was necessary:

- Timed odor release

Although throwing a raw fish into the ceiling may at first seem like a good idea, we realized that its strong and immediate odor would cause residents to become suspicious too quickly. No, we were looking for something that will begin with a negligible scent and work its way up as days pass. Our scientific hypothesis is that with a slow increase in scent, residents will "adapt" to the smell as it evolves. If our theory is correct, they will be entering the bathroom so frequently that they will become desensitized to the smell, and hence not immediately search for its source.

Started off with the classic: ground beef, .90 pounds' worth. By far the most nasty piece of meat from Mahlon Smith's First Stinkymeat Project.

Estimated half-life: 5-6 days
Stink potential: High
Total cost: $3.41

These fresh pork chops were right next to the ground beef. Mahlon's projects did not include pig, so this could be interesting.

Estimated half-life: 7-8 days
Stink potential: Medium
Total cost: $1.93

A Cornish game hen, small enough that it would only take up a quarter of the plate. Few things stink worse than rotting chicken. Seemed too good to pass up.

Predicted half-life: 5-6 days
Stink potential: Very high
Total cost: $3.12

Nabbed a breakfast favorite. Bacon smells great when it's being cooked. We're very curious to see if this will change after a week of incubation.

Predicted half-life: 6-7 days
Stink potential: High
Total cost: $3.69

After the tragic disappearance of the dog food plate early in Mahlon's Second Stinkymeat Project, we felt obligated to give it a second try. The cat food can seemed to come in a more ideal size, so we swiped one of those instead.

Predicted half-life: 4-5 days
Stink potential: Medium
Total cost: $.55

Hefty Serve 'n Store. Durable, tall sides, and large handles. All characteristics that will hopefully keep the meat on the plate and off our fingers while handling it.

Total cost: $2.00

And here it is!

Total cost: $14.70 with Shaw's discount card

Got home and placed each item carefully onto the plate. No real smell yet from anything other than the cat food. I hadn't eaten in a while, and I must admit that the aroma emanating from the "Grilled, Tender Beef and Liver Feast in Gravy" was actually quite appealing. It was with some difficulty that I restrained myself from tasting it.

The meat rests peacefully in my friend's fridge. Tonight we go and plant it in the ceiling tiles above the shower...

Continue to Day 2

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