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

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Arduino μcontrollers
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Fractal antenna

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(nobody does!)

Like my brownhouse:
   limits of her constricted arteries
Tuesday, December 14 2004
You've heard of the Darwin Awards, in which people receive posthumous recognition in appreciation for the hit they took for the good of the human gene pool. Any time somebody dies young (and it's because he or she clearly made a stupid decision) one can say that Darwinian forces have acted on our behalf. This is a truism. One can see such Darwinian forces at work with the news that the US Army is still somehow meeting its recruitment targets. Back in the day, when joining the Army was a ticket out of a dead-end life in the inner city or in the hollows of West Virginia, one could say that joining the Army was a smart thing for a disadvantaged American to do. But with an apocalyptic maniac running this country, joining the Army these days is nothing but stupid. One has to believe that the dregs the Army had to recruit to meet this year's goals lack, on average, the sorts of minds possessed by recruits from some years ago. It's possible some of the latest recruits never read a newspaper or watched a television, but for the rest, what other explanation exists except plain stupidity? The looming reality that a fraction of them will be killed or severely injured in Iraq and elsewhere, tragic though it is, is in keeping Darwinian principles. Where Darwin's rules don't apply are in the cases of people who were recruited during peaceful times, when it seemed the Cold War (and war in general) might be coming to an end. Ours is a volunteer army, but one volunteers for something that isn't voluntary once the volunteering is done. And therein lies the non-Darwinian rub, wherein smart, able-bodied people are removed from the gene pool simply because they ran out of luck. Darwin was correct about the statistics of survival among the fittest, but on an individual basis, selection can be as random as lightning.

I was at one of my subcontracted computer repair gigs today, the third visit to a bank in Stone Ridge concerning their ailing Lexmark printer/scanner combo unit. While on the phone with Lexmark about the second replacement scanner in two days, I got an identical diagnosis to the one I'd had yesterday: today's scanner was supposedly dead on arrival. That seemed odd so I asked the Lexmark guy if he was sure. Then I asked the lowly dude on the phone from the company I'd subcontracted with if he was sure I should really get a third replacement scanner. I didn't know how I was going to explain this systemic incompetence to the bank grand pooh bah I'd been dealing with; yesterday I'd made the mistake of giving her my home phone number even though she's really supposed to be dealing with me only through the company I subcontract with. Today she'd called my house and got Gretchen instead of me (at the time I was off in Woodstock on a couple of housecalls with my two most annoying regulars). On the phone the bank grand pooh bah acted as if it was somehow my job to stay by the phone and await her particular call. I guess when you do bank business, you're in continual crisis mode and there's no place for anything less than type-A personalities eating seven steak dinners each week. Anyway, somehow she survived today's news without testing the limits of her arteries. But then back at my house there was a message on my phone from the grand pooh bah of the company I subcontract with. I'd been developing a dislike for her ever since the other day, when she called me at the bank to ask if I'd been making disparaging remarks about the company, something I'm fully capable of but that I actually hadn't been doing. Just give me a few more phone calls like that, though. Let that be a word to the wise if you're a pooh bah of type grand.

It turned out that all my troubles with the new access point alluded to yesterday were the result of insufficient voltage to the wireless bridge. Once I had it up to power, I had no problem getting and maintaining a link to a mysterious new third residential network. This one actually had better available bandwidth than my own, with about twice the upload bandwidth. Now all I have to do is figure out a way to take advantage of these three different broadband internet connections. What a change a year brings! A year ago I thought I'd be stuck with dialup into my old age up here on Dug Hill Road, edge of the tundra.

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