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:
   indoor flushless urinal
Friday, May 25 2007
The weather today was hot and humid, perfect for cold-blooded reptiles. I saw two snakes today, one a longish garter snake at the Secret Spot (more about that in a moment) and the other a six or seven foot black snake crossing the Stick Trail not far from the house. A large black snake has a strange inevitability about it, more like weather than a creature. It lies there like a flood across your path, and, after a momentary startle, you find yourself having to pick your way around it while it continues on with its life, motionless yet somewhat curious. Its ancestors ate my ancestors for lunch, a fact my DNA refuses to let me ignore.
The humidity seems to have also finally brought out the mosquitos, though they're not yet anywhere near as bad as they typically are in warm weather.
When it comes to the dogs, Eleanor doesn't get as bored as Sally, but excitement has been rare so far in her post-knee-surgery convalescence. Today for the first time since her surgery, I took her on a purely recreational drive. I drove with her and Sally down to Stone Ridge to get some 3/4 inch PVC fittings for my urinal system, and then I stopped at Davenport's (a produce market associated with one of the Esopus Valley farms) to buy garden plants. On the way back home, we stopped at the Secret Spot on the Esopus, and I carried Eleanor all the way to the creek's edge so she could wade into the water. Sally swam all the way across, but Eleanor mostly sniffed around on the shoreline. She's started putting a little weight on her injured leg. This is both a good thing and a bad thing. On the one hand, it implies she isn't in much pain and is gradually healing. On the the other, every use of it puts the surgery's results in jeopardy. She's supposed to have a highly-restricted exercise regime for literally months, presumably because her repair is like a house of cards (initially at least).

Today I hooked up the last of the plumbing for my laboratory's new no-flush urinal, which I installed, primed with a little water, and then used. I wasn't actually pissing enough to satisfactorily test its behavior, so I went on a massive tea-drinking binge.
I didn't have any mineral oil handy for filling the deep trap of the urinal, so I used motor oil instead. After pissing into it numerous times, the urinal had very little odor at all. If it smelled like anything, that thing was definitely automotive. It will, of course, take weeks of testing to be sure I haven't put a stinking albatross in my laboratory, but initial indications are promising.
In the end the check valve allowing air into the top of the system proved unnecessary for the low fluid volume that results from urination.

The new urinal in the laboratory.

The internal mechanism of the urinal, as a cross section. Functional walls are in red, oil is blue, and urine is yellow. The red ovoid at the top is the mechanism of the check valve allowing air in from the top.

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