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:
   glass whiskers embedded in fingers
Saturday, October 2 2010
Gretchen took a shower this morning, but the water in the hot water tank wasn't very hot because of all the recent days of overcast and rain. We could have just turned on the just-in-time electric heater, but doing so always feels like ecofailure, so Gretchen suffered through her cold shower and went off to wherever it was she needed to go. The day ended up being seasonably cool but very sunny, so we collected ample hot water, allowing me to take a bath later in the evening. I really needed that bath by the time I took it. Here's why:
This afternoon I decided to take advantage of the cool sunny weather to do some outdoor-type work of the sort I haven't really done for months. I'd bought a 36 inch wide door at yard sale some weeks ago with the idea of cutting it down to 30 inches and then using it to replace the crappy improvised greenhouse door I'd made from a closet door. So today I took some measurements, put the door on my trustworthy sawhorses (these sawhorses had come with the house), and begun ripping away several inches from either side. I have three handheld circle saws. One is a Black and Decker with blown bearings that I only use for crappy jobs such as sawing stone. The other is a reliable Sears Craftsman model. And then there is a Porter Cable saw I'd bought a year ago at a yard sale. It turns out that the Porter Cable saw draws twice as many amps as the Sears saw, and that difference in power made it usable in the thick wood of the door in a way that the Sears Craftsman just wasn't. It turned out that my first cut wasn't right, so I made a second cut and was amazed by how easily it went. But then I realized that all I'd been cutting through was foam. I'd completely cut away all the structural wood on one side of the door, leaving me no place to attach hinges or mount a doorknob. The door was now useless. Additionally, that foam apparently contained millions of tiny shards of glass, many of which found their way into my hands, making them uncomfortable for the rest of the day. It's no fun having microscopic whiskers of glass sticking out of the sides of your fingers where they can brush against your other fingers and send sharp little sensory distractions to your brain. I know this feeling from working with fibreglass insulation, and there's really nothing you can do about it but wait for your body to metabolize those tiny slivers. They don't seem to wash away, but a hot bath definitely helps. Is there any problem that a hot bath doesn't help?
The door isn't completely useless, though I'll never be able to use it as a door. I'll probably end up cutting out its enormous panel of insulated glass and using it in some solar project.

This evening Gretchen and I watched Shutter Island, a Leonardo DiCaprio vehicle. The movie is a big-budget atmospheric psychological thriller, but I found it deeply unsatisfying and a bit tiresome to watch. I'm not a big fan of either the non-linear story telling technique or the dream sequence, and this movie was full of both. The dirty little secret about dreams is that they're really only of interest to the dreamer, and this is as true of movie dreams as those your wife rolls over and tells you about when you really really have to get up and take a piss. Also, as Gretchen pointed out, Leonardo isn't aging very well. His face, she says, has become "too wide."

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