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

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(nobody does!)

Like my brownhouse:
   puddle of flagpins and cue cards
Thursday, October 2 2008
This morning I finished cleaning up the greenhouse foundation hole and then installed the rectangular ring of four inch drainage tile at the base of the four walls of the excavation, tucking them in some places into an available slot undercutting the banks of the hole. In some places this slot was so horizontally deep that I actually had to remove soil overhead to make room for the masonry walls that I'll eventually install.
It took surprisingly little time to install a complete ring of pipe, complete with three separate T-connections providing floor drainage, gutter drainage, and air access should I decide to pull geothermally-heated air from the drainage system for use in keeping a composting toilet ærobic.
Later I rolled a wheelbarrow loaded with 160 pounds of dry concrete down the road to the access ramp leading to the greenhouse site and set up it up a concrete mixing station in the pit. I mixed up a batch of wet concrete using water collected from the roof and, using rocks and generous amounts of concrete, began building up a foundation wall, starting at the northwest corner of the foundation excavation. I'd made a large square from two by fours to ensure the wall would be square oriented so as to coincide with the geometry of the hole, though there were numerous adjustments necessary along the way.

Like many throughout America and the world, the big event I was anticipating today was the vice presidential debate between Joe "I'm in the Pocket of Big Plastic" Biden and Sarah "Lipstick on a Wolf-shooting Pitbull" Palin. At the appointed time, I hit pause on the Tivo and waited for Gretchen to get back from her monthly poetry group.
90 minutes later, it felt like parts of my brain had been cauterized, though that might have been a consequence of the stiff drink I'd been sipping. I was impressed by Joe Biden's performance, which proved a good deal stronger than the one Barack Obama had turned in during his first debate with John McCain. "Say it Ain't So" Joe hit all the right points amazingly gaffe-free and then exceeded all expectations when he momentarily cracked at the mention of his family's tragedy, one I'd totally forgotten about.
As for Sarah Palin, at no point during the debate did she scream "I'm meeeltin'!" and vanish into a puddle of flagpins and cue cards on the floor. She outperformed expectations, ones that would have only been underperformed in such a Wicked Witch of the West death scenario. Her relative triumph was due to the undemanding nature of the debate format, which allowed for Palin to, for example, speak in tongues in response to a question about nukyuler proliferation. While Palin never actually spoke anything in tongues, she nevertheless leaned heavily on non-verbal forms of communication, particularly winks, which to me came off amateurish, degrading, cloying, and undignified. Seriously, this is the woman who will lift American womanhood through the highest glass ceiling?
Palin's talking points were crammed with many batshit crazy things for her to say, but the most terrifying of all was when she indicated (in her bumbling impossible-to-diagram way) that she admired the things Dick Cheney had done to advance the vice presidency.
Palin seemed strongest at the beginning of the debate, when her rehearsed talking points were freshest in her memory. By the end she'd pretty much run out of gas and was nearing the incoherence of the Katie Couric interviews. At a certain point all she could do was recycle old lines from Ronald Wilson Reagan. After being outplayed on the "raising a family" card by Biden's mention of his family tragedy, she seemed greatly diminished.

We were watching the debate on CNN, and throughout they were running the instant-feedback graph of a group of swing voters, with separate lines for women and men. Interestingly, the men seemed to be eating up Sarah McWinky Palin a lot more than the women were. Men's feedback rose steadily the more she spoke, and had she suddenly stripped and started doing a poll dance, I'm sure the knobs on those devices would have been cranked past eleven. Still, nobody seemed to much care for Palin's repeated labeling of herself and John McCain as "mavericks." Maverick is a term that, like "punk rock," only seems to have power when you aren't using it to describe yourself.
Immediately after the debate, it was gratifying to see nearly all the insta-polls showing Biden had won the debate by a large margin. Of course, there were those who wouldn't shut up about the fact that nary a rope of drool had been seen dangling from the corners of Sarah Palin's tattoo-lined lips.

The filled trench viewed from the greenhouse foundation hole. The styrofoam insulates the experimental thermal mass beneath it in the filled trench.

Overview of the greenhouse foundation hole after I put in the ring of drainage pipes but before I started work on the foundation wall. The large wooden thing is a square I built to square up the greenhouse footprint.

The view from the south, from a spot I've shot from several times in the past.

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