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:
   sausage party at Beer Run
Wednesday, November 30 2011

location: "Creekside Doublewide," Stingy Hollow Road, south of Staunton, Augusta County, Virginia

Steve, my mother's (Hoagie's) electrician, was out at Creekside today to fix a number of problems and install a new 240 volt 50 amp circuit in the old Bob's Body Shop garage across the creek. This was my recommendation for how to get her up to speed on welding. On some earlier trip we'd gone out and bought the welder, but we'd had nothing to plug it in to. Steve had a little trouble finding the panel that sends electricity under the creek to the garage, but once he had that, it didn't take him long to get the circuit installed. Another tricky problem was getting the light working in Don's bathroom (no one else would ever use it). The problem there was a flaky CF bulb; those things don't just die when the die; often they become unreliable instead. By the way, Steve only charges $30/hour. I don't know how he pays for his gas. Though he disagrees with her on political matters, I suspect he gives my mother a discount because of the impoverished appearance of her estate.
Later Hoagie and I went over to garage and "played around" with the 240 volt stick welder. The key to getting reliable welds with that thing was to dial down the power to match the thickness of the stick. Otherwise it just explodes. This is something I had to learn; I'd never worked with an arc welder having so much power. Though none of the welds we were making in pieces of scrap metal were any good, Hoagie was having something she would anachronistically describe as a "blast." Later she would burst into the house eager to tell Dad all about it, having momentarily forgotten that he had died.

My childhood friend Nathan would be doing a network installation in New York City this weekend, and I wanted to visit him in Charlottesville before he left town. So the plan for today was to drive over the Blue Ridge and make that visit. I started out in Staunton, where I took advantage of the free WiFi at Coffee on the Corner to check my email and casually surf the web. I've been using Gretchen's Droid cellphone for the same access back at Creekside, but it is slow over a 3G cellular network down in a hollow at the edge of the signal range and I couldn't initially figure out how to get the Droid to check my email.
I decided to get Nathan's five year old son a gift while I was in Staunton, so I ducked into a bookstore on Beverley Street called Bookworks. Brick and mortar bookstores are in trouble everywhere, and you'd think they'd be especially so in Staunton. But it's a town with a college catering to bored southern belles who, like me, are occasionally in need (or the recipient) of gifts. I was the only customer, and my initial hunt was for some sort of dinosaur book. Instead I ended up with a book featuring plans for origami robots (something I would have found extremely exciting at the age of five).
I arrived at Nathan's place at around six, just as he was getting home (by bicycle) from work. His house was more of a riot of activity than it had been in the past. Something about having a kid makes keeping a tidy house more of a challenge. But he and Janine don't just have a kid these days; they have a Thai woman and her four year old daughter living in their guest room, and there's no force in nature that can clean up after two kids that age in continual playdate mode. The Thai woman was brought over from Thailand by some guy who then abandoned her, and so while she's getting her affairs straight, she lives with Nathan and Janine. If you're a member of the poor and downtrodden and should find yourself gnawing on chicken bones in a shipping container, you could do worse than having them stumble upon you. For dinner, I thought maybe we'd be going out but that made no sense with machine of so many moving parts, so they ordered a couple pizzas from Christian's Pizza on the Downtown Mall, which had been Sylvia's back in my time and is still considered by those who care to be the very best pizza in town. It's even good without cheese (the way my portion of it came).
Later Nathan and I went out by ourselves to Beer Run, where we sat at the bar drinking IPAs and related beers such as Lagunitas Little Sumpin' Sumpin'. Interestingly, though, the Little Sumpin' Sumpin' from the tap at Beer Run was noticeably inferior to the same beer from a tap at Skytop Steakhouse west of Kingston, NY. Nathan characterized the scene tonight at Beer Run as a "sausage party," which I understood to mean that it had an unusually high ratio of gentlemen to ladies. Before we left, we got a wine-sized bottle of an obscure quasi-IPA, which we took back to the house and drank completely while snacking on cold pizza. We had a great time, as we always do on the rare occasions we get together. Since the guest room was otherwise occupied, I had to sleep on the couch, knowing tomorrow would be a hangover day. [REDACTED]

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