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:
   puppy-confinement puzzle
Sunday, May 13 2012
I planted the last of the greenhouse plants today, which mostly consisted of tomatoes as well as a couple large broccoli plants that I'd also started from seed back in January. Yesterday I'd transplanted several of these broccolis into the main garden and found that they were easily-traumatized. Their roots are weaker and thus their root balls tend to be fragile. If a large chunk of the root mass goes missing, the broccoli will wilt badly. However, they recover nicely at night. Once the sun rose above the roofline today, though they were back to drooping in a way that suggested they were done for.
In transplanting plants today, I was doing so with all the wisdom gained by yesterday's failures. I waited for the sun to retreat behind the trees before I planted them, and I took pains not to damage the root balls. And I was so careful with the broccoli plants that I managed to keep their root balls completely intact. Best of all, the weather forecast was calling for a couple days of rain, meaning that by the time the sun shines down on them, the plants will have had a couple days to acclimate to their new sites.
Before those rains came, I wanted to change out the small plastic tap in the woodshed rain barrel with a large plastic ball valve. Those little taps work by using a screw to compress a rubber washer into a smallish hole, and this doesn't allow large volumes of water to drain quickly. The other rain barrel already has the ball valve drain mechanism and it is so much better than the woodshed rain barrel that I'd pretty much stop using the latter. Before I replaced the tap, though, I had to drain the barrel, and so it seemed best to do the replacement when rains were predicted.
Gretchen went to the Woodstock dog park today with our dogs, meeting up with our friend Eileen there. But it wasn't just a social call; Eileen happens to be our veterinarian and Gretchen had her look at one of Ramona's hind legs, which she has been favoring for days. (I know what this is like; people often ask me for computer advice when I am at social functions.) Eileen's worst case scenario was that Ramona had torn her ACL (expensive) but it was also possible it was a torn meniscus (not as expensive). In either case it might be possible to fix the problem with a week of rest and relaxation. But that would mean imposing new restrictions on Ramona, who has had almost complete freedom of movement since moving in with us. So I spent a good half hour this evening erecting particleboard barricades to isolate the first floor office from the rest of the house. For a door, I used the old plexiglass door that had been used to separate the mud room from the laundry room back when we had Mavis the elderly special needs cat. That door has its own piano hinge, and I was able to attach that hinge to the wall in a way that allowed it to close on the rest of the particleboard barricade. The final piece in this puppy-confinement puzzle was a U-shaped piece of wood to latch the plexiglass against the particleboard when the door was closed.
In the past we'd used the first floor office to keep Eleanor from moving around too much when she was recovering from her two ACL surgeries. But those recoveries had taken something like six weeks each, and so during those times we'd moved the bed and teevee into there as well so Eleanor wouldn't get too lonely. It seemed like too much bother to do this for only one week of rest and relaxation, but I thought it might be good to move in a small teevee so we could watch Jeopardy and the Colbert Report with Ramona. Our DVR has a system where it can send out programming through a cable to a second teevee and can be controlled remotely via UHF wireless. I manage to set all of this up, but for whatever reason the UHF remote wasn't working. I even called Dishnet technical support, and the woman on the other end of the line put me through a series of procedures until she determined that the remote was bad. But I didn't want to pay the $12 to replace it; Ramona probably won't be in confinement any more once it arrives. I should mention that the Dishnet tech support woman was very helpful, but whenever I tried to engage her in non-script banter (such as when I asked her what was happening when one pressed "record" while pointing the remote at the System screen) she didn't say anything, reminding me of a robot. I even felt like I could insult her without hurting her feelings (though I didn't). It's interestingly that as robot agents have become more humanlike human agents have been forced to become more robotlike.

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