Your leaking thatched hut during the restoration of a pre-Enlightenment state.


Hello, my name is Judas Gutenberg and this is my blaag (pronounced as you would the vomit noise "hyroop-bleuach").


decay & ruin
Biosphere II
dead malls
Irving housing

got that wrong

appropriate tech
Arduino μcontrollers
Backwoods Home
Fractal antenna

fun social media stuff

(nobody does!)

Like my brownhouse:
   instant cement-salvaging project
Thursday, December 19 2002

Today a woman named Roz came out to our place to tile our bathroom. She'd already outed herself as a lesbian when she did the initial estimate, and Gretchen was trying to figure out a way to tell her that she has lesbian sympathies without resorting to the annoying "I used to be involved in a lesbian relationship myself" thing. So Gretchen wore an orange New York Liberty sweatshirt today. Any woman wearing New York Liberty fanwear in the off-season probably knows her way around a Subaru Outback and may have even shown up on a few second dates with a U-haul.
But boy, was Roz a bitch. The nearly threw a tantrum when she saw that we'd carpeted most of the upstairs, telling us that tiling was a really messy job and asking us where she could possible set up the wet saw. We told her not to fear and had her set it up in my still-uncarpeted studio, using carpet fragments to protect the carpet leading from there to the bathroom. In retrospect it was a very good thing that the wetsaw didn't end up in the master bedroom just outside the bathroom, because it wasn't long before I saw water dripping from the ceiling of the garage (which is beneath my studio). The master bedroom, you see, is directly above the dining room, which has a Sheetrock ceiling and hardwood floors.
Roz had an assistant with her named Anthony, and he seemed to be perfectly comfortable in his role as lackey. He wasn't anything like your usual contractor type; for lunch I saw him eating something that violated three tenets of contractor luncheons: it was vegetarian, healthy, and non-fattening. Later I overheard him talking about something he'd heard on public radio. Real contractors, of course, listen exclusively to radio stations belonging to the Clear Channel syndicate. Where else can they get their daily requirement of shock jock morning personalities?
After Roz and Anthony left for the day, I found that they were throwing away a fairly substantial amount of cement left over from laying floor tiles. I took a scoop of the still-mudlike substance in my hand and immediately started applying it to the surface of the chimney for the boiler, which comes up along the wall of the rec room. On the outside of the house, this chimney looks like it is made of red clay brick, but on the inside it's an ugly column of stacked concrete chimney blocks. I suddenly had the inspiration to make it look more like a masonry chimney by covering it with a smooth layer of cement.
After I'd covered most of the chimney, I began to worry about the cement drying before it could harden. So I went out into the woods in back in search of small flat rocks to embed in the surface of the cement, thereby retaining moisture and (as a side effect) adding a sort of native, naturalistic tile.
After sticking a couple dozen pieces of rock to the cement, I initiated a regimen of spraying it down with water every so often, just so the heat from the chimney wouldn't cause it to dry prematurely. I was a little ambivalent about how my instant cement-salvaging project turned out, but at least Gretchen thought it was awesome.

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