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
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Irving housing

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Like my brownhouse:
   blaming my xiphoid process
Thursday, January 17 2008 [REDACTED]

Those of you who have been reading the content of this site since 2003 will perhaps recall my suffering from what I described as "esophageal clenching" back in February of 2004. Later that month the problem abated while I was on vacation in the then-still-intact New Orleans, and has only cropped up on a few occasions in the years since, once in November of 2005 (soon after accidentally drinking gasoline), and more recently during Thanksgiving in Silver Spring. Recently, though, my esophageal issues have returned with a vengeance and now, for the first time ever, I have a good working theory for what my problem is. I suspect that the "esophageal clenching" is a ghost pain with origins on my xiphoid process, the tiny bony tail that hangs down from the bottom of the sternum. Numerous chest and belly muscles radiate from the xiphoid process, muscles that can easily be overextended or otherwise injured when I'm doing hard work such as shoveling snow or carrying firewood. Reading a web article about Xiphodynia, an exercise-related condition of the xiphoid process, I finally made a conncection between recent tenderness I've noticed just below my sternum and my esophageal problems. Indeed, I found that I could arrest pangs of esophageal discomfort instantly by massaging my xiphoid process. Furthermore, though my xiphoid process has recently been too tender for me to allow a cat to step on it, I can make nearly all of this tenderness vanish temporarily with a good massage.

In anticipation of another possible winter storm, today I collected an enormous amount of firewood from the forest immediately south of the house. I was able to cut down a dead medium-sized Chestnut Oak and cut up pieces from two larger oak on the precipice of the escarpment. I also gathered some dead Hemlock, which is a grossly inferior wood. (I've long had a prejudice against burning firewood from evergreens. But the main argument against doing so - that resin build-up leads to chimney fires - doesn't seem to be a concern with our particular wood stove installation.) I piled up all this wood at the trailhead of the Stick Trail and covered the pile with a tarp, since I didn't have the energy to carry it up to the woodshed. At some point it might be useful to construct either a ramped trail from the Stick Trail up to the woodshed or else build some sort of cable-and-pulley-based mini ski-lift.

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