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:
   scotch over bourbon
Thursday, September 15 2011

With its flooding, winds, and mudslides, Tropical Storm Irene reconfigured a lot of the details of our region. Included among those reconfigured things was the housing situation of our friend Deborah. She'd been living in a small cottage on the north bank of the Esopus near where it dumps into the Hudson in Saugerties, but the tide-exacerbated storm surge send four feet of water through her neighborhood, putting several inches of water into her house, forcing her to seek a new living situation. As a result of the resulting downsizing, I'd inherited a half of a bottle of Johnnie Walker Red Label scotch, and it made me realize something: I might actually prefer Scotch to Bourbon or Irish whiskey. To the extent that my taste is this way, it stands in contrast to all familial influences, biological and marital: both my father and Gretchen actively dislike scotch's peat flavor (something my father has characterized as "medicinal"). This isn't the first time I've struck out on my own with regard to booze; my parents only stocked brandy and clear rum, but when I set out on my own, I was mostly into vodka, though I continued to occasionally buy cheap brandy. For the last seven or eight years, though, my preferred boozes have been gin and bourbon.
Today when I was out running errands and restocking the laboratory liquor cabinet, I decided to get a bottle of scotch instead of cheap Evan Williams bourbon. Evidently there is no such thing as cheap scotch, and while a litre of Evan Williams can be had for $16, the same amount of scotch could be had for no less than $20. That brand of scotch is called "Grant's" and it comes in an intriguing bottle with a triangular cross-section. (I'll buy any liquor if the bottle shape is sufficiently interesting.) [It turns out that Grant's is sufficiently delicious, by the way.]
While I was out, I bought more planks suitable for shelf building, as well as beans and a dijonnaise mustard (Gretchen prefers the crappy yellow kind).
This evening I was a little surprised when Gretchen managed to produce a delicious Indian meal based on chick peas and some sauce I'd just bought that turned out not to be perfectly vegan.
Later I put the finishing touches on my laboratory's southwest shelving unit, creating a hinged door for a pair of shelves with one of my paintings (using paintings as cabinet doors makes it possible to use a wall simultaneously for shelving and the display of art). As a latching system, I did as I'd done with my other shelves-behind painting cabinets, and used magnets. In this case I intended to use a bean-shaped rare earth magnet salvaged from a hard drive, and I'd chiseled out a perfect place for it. But as I dicked around with the magnet, it managed to fall from its perch and lose itself in the tangle of wires and random bits of crap on the floor below. I looked for that damn magnet for well over an hour but I could not find it. The thing about magnets is they can bounce and then cling onto some random piece of steel so tightly that there's no way you'll ever be able to find it. I even tried scanning the area with a sewing needle hanging from a string, but it did no good. My best theory about where it went was into a crack on my air compressor (whose tank now seems to be unusually magnetized), but maybe I'll never know. I ended up having to enlarged my mortised hole to accept a somewhat larger rare earth magnet, which I then used epoxy to fix in place. Once in place it was so powerful that I when I went to open the "cabinet," I feared I might wrench the handle from the screws holding it to the back of the painting.

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