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:
   bolt on spoiler shelf
Monday, May 7 2007
I'd used a cheap heatgun when I'd originally undertaken the high-temperature fix for my iBook, which had been experiencing unstable video brightness. The fix that I'd then observed had proved temporary, and had probably all been the result of a shim of cardboard I'd placed between the plastic outer-shell and the problematic video processor. Today I redid the fix, this time using a fancier heatgun that had taken more than a month to be delivered under's ghetto "free delivery" shipping plan. This new heat gun has two speed settings for air flow and can be dialed to different digitally-precise temperature settings. I tested it out on blown video board and was able to remove a surface mount memory chip within less than a minute of heating. So far today's resoldering of my iBook's video chip has proved reliable, but it takes at least a week of use to know for sure.

It's already baby bird season, though I don't know how it's possible to have raised a flying vertebrate in the small amount of time that has passed since the coming of warm weather. The only reason I know it's baby bird season is because today I had to rescue a baby sparrow from Clarence the cat. The sparrow was flying along the ground so quickly that at first I thought it was a running rodent. It hid in a tuft of weeds so expertly that I had trouble finding it in the several square inches I knew it to be in. I finally found it and managed to pick it from among the sticks, which is not something to be rushed with such a fragile creature. I released it up above the farm road and it flew away from me in shallowly-angled downward trajectory, ending up in a bush far from the cats. It seems that, after leaving the nest, it takes them some time to master the ability to fly against the pull of gravity.
In all the commotion of saving the sparrow, which I'd done barefoot, I'd managed to spear the my left "index" toe upon a dried weed stalk in that tender spot where the toe joins up with the sole of the foot. Injuries there tend to feel like advanced athlete's foot, and it my case it also felt a little like there might be a cellulosic splinter in there too.

Some years ago I noticed that there appeared to be a thriving bolt-on spoiler scene among the adolescent automobile enthusiasts of Kingston, New York. Once I realized this, it became difficult not to notice all the bolt-on spoilers, and I couldn't keep myself from pointing them out to Gretchen as we drove around. "Look, now that's a bolt-on spoiler!" I'd say. So after some months of this she ordered a bolt-on spoiler and gave it to me as a present for either Christmas or my birthday. I'd thought it was a ridiculous gift at the time (I was driving a small pickup truck in those days), so the spoiler just sat around as another unfinished project in the laboratory. What the hell would I do with the damn thing?
Today I installed the spoiler on the sloping 45 degree ceiling above my computer desk, where it could serve as a convenient shelf for items not more than five inches high. It's not easy to attach a shelf to a sloping wall/ceiling, but the hardware for attaching a spoiler somehow makes it possible. Furthermore, the concavity of the spoiler's ærodynamic surface (which I have pointing upward) serves as a useful dish to keep things on the shelf from eventually being vibrated off the edge.

I've been continuing to listen to my Pandora radio station, the one that I have grown from a single Sunny Day Real Estate song ("Fool in the Photograph"). I've been careful to give lots of ratings to the songs sent my way, hoping that eventually the songs would perfectly match my tastes. But it hasn't been working out that way. I notice that my station keeps playing me the same specific songs from the same particular CD, often at very high rates of rotation. In terms of musical diversity, then, it's no better than top-40 radio (if anything describable by that 1970s-era term can be said to still exist). I'm finding that I have to give a thumbs-down rating to songs that I used to like, just so I never have to hear them again. It's possible that such monotony is the result of only giving Pandora one song to work with, but a smart algorithm should be able to come up with better diversity based on all the rating data I've given it. And it should know by now that I don't like Nu Metal (I dislike the characteristic passages of "scream-singing"), Hair Metal (yes, even in its retro form), and Creed. But I don't hate all the Christian hard rock Pandora has been throwing at me. I actually do like the song "Forgiven" by Relient K, though it seems to be about masturbation guilt.

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