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:
   shock collar
Saturday, April 9 2005
I jackhammered nearly all day, with occasional quiet lulls as I gathered the ruins of formerly-proud rock formations and piled them on a sheet of plastic on the lawn. Meanwhile both of the dogs lounged either in the sun-drenched driveway or in the shade of the hemlocks near the house.
Given what had happened yesterday, I was concerned that a cyclist might come pedalling up the hill and Eleanor would chase after him. Cyclists are easy pickings once they've climbed the 450 vertical feet from the bottom of the Esopus Valley. But I held out on getting a shock collar until I could combine it with the errand of returning the jackhammer to the rental place. With gasoline costing what it does these days (circa $2.29/gallon in the Kingston area), I can't afford making multiple impulsive trips into town.
Somehow I made it through an entire Saturday afternoon of fabulous weather without seeing a single cyclist going either direction. This was unusual; Dug Hill Road is a major cyclist route in this region.
After returning the jackhammer and buying more drainage tile, I went to Petsmart and bought a radio-controlled shock collar. They're not called "shock collars" on the packaging and when I asked a Petsmart employee if the collars "electrocute" he said no, but only because that word has such a negative connotation.
When I got home I found that the way you test the shocking capabilities of the collar (euphemistically termed "stimulation") is by attaching a small neon bulb to the terminals. It takes a lot of volts to make a neon lamp glow, which is all the more impressive given the fact that the collar itself runs on two three volt watch batteries. This means there must be one hell of a transformer inside that collar to boost the voltages up to a level where they can actually "stimulate."
I actually did get a chance to try the stimulation function some hours later when a cyclist came walking up Dug Hill Road pushing his bike. He wasn't the sort of moving target that would make a dog switch into "pursue and kill" mode, but nevertheless I took the opportunity to give Eleanor a lesson all the same. When she ignored my admonishments and ran out into the road I gave her the juice. Not once but twice. The effect wasn't dramatic, but she got a weird look on her face and started obeying me, coming back away from the road and ceasing her barking. As for the cyclist, he was an affable older guy and didn't seem the least bit threatened by the dogs. Acting as if our household had already developed a reputation among cyclists for its vicious dogs, I told him that I was in the midst of training the dogs not to chase cyclists. "They seem friendly to me," he said.
When it comes to animals, particularly her animals, Gretchen lives in a world of pure fantasy, where things like shock collars and massive pet store chains have no place and everybody worthy of an organ transplant loves her dogs unconditionally. I knew Gretchen wouldn't be happy about my purchase of the shock collar, but I considered the situtation desperate and thus requiring of suitably desperate measures. Yet when she called and I broke the news about the collar I didn't have the heart to say I'd already put it to use.

The ditch today, being slope-tested with running water.

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