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:
   electricity in the sky
Saturday, March 7 2009
This afternoon Gretchen and I went to visit our friends Tara and Brian at their recently-built house at the base of the northeast corner of the Shawangunk range (just southwest of Tilson). Tara's grandmother is ill, so Gretchen made her a bunch of food. Our visit would give us an opportunity to check in on the progress of their house, which is off-grid and which they have built themselves. (I'd gone over a couple times to help, first with the installation of roof trusses and then later to assist with the installation of the framework for their photovoltaic array.)
The day had been unseasonably warm, and the house was surrounded by a wide yard of mud across which straw had been strewn. This allowed us to reach the door without entering the fossil record. We'd brought both our dogs, who were happy to meet Joey, a large lovable labrador mix they'd met on a previous visit (and whom Tara and Brian were dog sitting). The house hadn't actually advanced much since last I'd seen it, although Brian and Tara had moved in and now it was cluttered with their stuff alongside the chaos of carpentry and tools associated with the ongoing construction process. Just recently they'd begun installing bamboo flooring over the concrete slab of their main floor. More interesting to me was the back room where the battery bank and electric inverter lived. A controller gave a continual readout of how much electricity was being used and how much was being collected. The sky was overcast at the time, but nevertheless the collector was able to gather 50 watts.
Tara convinced us to stay for an early dinner of the food we'd brought over (rice pasta and some sort of patty), to which they added cooked kale and wine. Gretchen had brought over a jar of Indian pickle sauce that proved alarmingly spicy, far outclassing anything that can be purchased in the Hudson Valley. Dinner discussion took a pleasant turn when the subject became how disconnected people in our society are from the basis of everything in their lives. Not Tara and Brian, who must live (for the most part) within the budget of electricity falling from the sky. They might be adding a windmill, thereby capturing the electricity moving along the field.
Back at the house, Gretchen got an email from Tara telling her one of our dogs (almost certainly Sally) had pissed all over her bed. This isn't a normal Sally behavior, though on occasion she will do small marking urinations inside the houses of friends.

On our answering machine was a message from our friend Penny. She'd called to tell us she couldn't meet us tomorrow for lunch at the Garden Café in Woodstock because she had to go to a funeral. A relative (someone we actually knew) had committed suicide. Living on the north side of Ohayo Mountain, where the sun never rises above the horizon from November to February, this woman had supposedly suffered from seasonal affective disorder (SAD). Coupled with the beating her 401k had taken in the economic downturn, she'd taken her husband's pistol, gone outside, and killed herself. This had happened on Thursday. Had she waited two days, she would have experienced outdoor temperatures in the 60s.

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