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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Like my brownhouse:
   skeletonized pines and housesitters
Tuesday, November 24 2009
As always, Gretchen and I would be driving down to Silver Spring, Maryland to spend Thanksgiving with her folks, and today our house sitters would be arriving. This would be a guy named Eduardo whose mother Gretchen met while walking dogs in the West Hurley Park. Eduardo's mother no longer has a weekend house in the area, though we occasionally hear things about her, mostly through our friend Susan the German translator, whom we met through her.
As for Eduardo, he is about Gretchen's age and is an actor. (His father has even seen him speaking Spanish in a film dubbed in that language.)
I spent much of the day cleaning the house yet again to make up for the difference in clean acceptable for houseguests and that acceptable for house sitters, people who will be seeing the house at all times of day and have access to all of its parts.
Making the household boiler work reliably was proving an elusive goal, and my latest theory was that there was a problem with either the ignition transformer or the boiler control module. The latter seemed a lot more likely when I happened to be in the boiler room at precisely the moment the boiler began a heat cycle and immediately switched off and went into lockout mode, before even the fuel began pumping or the ignition began sparking. This seemed to indicate some fundamental problem with the circuit responsible for initiating all those things.
Since the boiler would be working so sporadically and would require so much babysitting, I decided it best to emphasize the woodstove as a heat source during our absence. To make it easier to work with, I decided to cut up a bunch of kindling, mostly using the skeletons of fallen dead White Pines east of the greenhouse. (I've tapped out the supply of such dead pines in other easily-reachable sectors.) Skeletonized White Pine is one of the fattest, most easily-ignited forms of kindling, and it seemed that the more I stocked in the woodshed, the more likely our housesitters would be to maintain woodstove fires.
In the mid-afternoon came the arrival of Eduardo and his girlfriend (this was a new one he'd met a few months ago through and, like the one I remember him with last, she was conventionally attractive). I showed them to their basement room (where they'd be staying just until we left) and then made them coffee and we sat in front of the fire. Somewhat disconcertingly, the girlfriend wore a full parka well past the time most people would have shed it, and I had a raging fire in the woodstove (the living room temperatures were in the mid-70s). If she was the kind of woman who couldn't tolerate a little chill, it seemed unlikely that she'd be having an enjoyable housesitting experience (without, that is, burning up a huge amount of oil). Later Eduardo and his girlfriend went for a sunset walk in the forest, forgetting to dress in orange as I'd warned them they should in deer season.
After Gretchen came home from her workday, the four of us went out to dinner at Cucina, the trying-to-be-SoHo-fancy place in Kingston. I ordered one of the two vegan dishes on the menu and found it kind of dreary and insufferable, although I loved the order of French fries I'd ordered as an appetizer. Dinner conversation included Gretchen telling the story of how she and I got back together after a 12 year hiatus, though I'm sure she'd told that same story to Eduardo and a former girlfriend years ago. As for Eduardo, he said he'd met Ms. Current Girlfriend after only about a week on Why even bother with more primitive forms of dating? The last time I was single, internet dating was for the desperate and marginal. Now it's a mainstream tool and it just works.

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