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
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Irving housing

got that wrong

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Arduino μcontrollers
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Like my brownhouse:
   Stone Age and Information Age
Friday, January 25 2008
The other day I got two small 300 watt parabolic electric heaters in the mail, one for Gretchen and one for me. When I tried it out as I worked in my laboratory (which was at about 51 degrees Fahrenheit), the heater's infrared output felt like a beam of sunshine falling on my face (the most sensible place to point it), but it wasn't quite enough. My hands were still cold, but worse than that were my feet. If only I could have something warm to put my feet on. At first I thought about maybe getting an electric heating pad, but then a low tech solution bubbled up into my consciousness. How about just heating a rock on the woodstove and putting that on the floor beneath my desk? I used to sleep with heated chunks of limestone when I was a kid, a trick I'd learned from my mother (who had done this in the 1940s in suburban Boston). I'm sure my mother had learned to do this from one or more of her ancestors who had in turn had learned it from theirs, all in an uninterrupted chain stretching deep into the Stone Age. Wrapped in a towel, a five pound chunk of limestone can retain detectable heat through an entire night. Why not use this technique to keep my feet warm while working at my computer? It would be a marvelous confluence of Stone Age and Information Age technology.
Today was my first full day computing with a heated rock (a river rock comprised of fine-grained sandstone), and I have to say it's already changed my life. In terms of laboratory improvements, it's up there somewhere with the flushless urinal. The downside concerns the cat Stripey (aka Julius), my biggest fan. When I'm heating the whole laboratory he can snuggle back by the hydronic baseboards and leave me alone. But when the only heat in the room is directly beside me, he has nowhere to go but on top of me. And I just can't work that way.

This evening Gretchen and her friend and Dorothy (her friend and colleague in the Bard Prison Initiative) gave a joint reading at KMOCA on Abeel Street in the Rondout section of Kingston. KMOCA stands for (as you might imagine) the "Kingston Museum of Contemporary Art" and happened to be featuring colorful abstract reliefs made of a SculpyTM-like material. They looked like coral reefs.
Dorothy's posse is a big one, a relatively youthful assortment of Bard students, former students, and faculty. To a lesser degree, mostly alerted by her website, a subset of Gretchen's posse was in attendance as well. Because KMOCA is comprised of two small rooms, a hallway, and a bathroom, there wasn't enough room for everyone who came. So some attendees had to content themselves with audio and the absence of video. Having just been on "book tour" with Gretchen, it was good to hear her read some some entirely new material. This also marked the first time I'd heard Dorothy's poetry. Much of it seemed to have been inspired by wordless encounters made in traffic and tended to be expressed in many short overlapping brushstrokes of verse.
Later a subset of the KMOCA crowd went to La Pupuseria, where we sat together at a very long table. That phase of the evening felt a little too much like a wedding, what with all the pleasant conversation with strangers over food.

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