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:
   Game of Thrones marathon
Monday, May 28 2012
I began work on the east wall of the new greenhouse upstairs today. Since that wall will be under a sloping roof and contain a single window, I had the idea to make the wall out of two units, which will simplify prefabrication and allow me to compensate for errors made along the way. One such error happened when I failed to take into account the thickness of the sill and top plates in calculating the height of the prefabricated partial wall unit, so it ended up being three inches too high. But because the unit was rectangular and only designed to reach the rafters at the north end, I could push the extra height into the intra-rafter space after first notching one of the corners to accommodate a small bit of rafter that was in the way.
Meanwhile Gretchen prepared a lunch of potatoes and leftovers and invited over Ray and Nancy. We ended up eating out on the east deck beneath a Phoebe nest containing three or four actual baby Phoebes (as opposed to Cowbirds). The sun was so hot that eventually we had to abandon the picnic table and sit in the shade of the eaves, just beneath the Phoebe nest. Ray and Nancy had brought over wine, so I wasn't good for all that much for the rest of the afternoon.
But that didn't matter; mostly all I wanted to do was pursue a personal Game of Thrones marathon. In my inattention to all else, I was reminding myself of that episode of Portlandia where the main characters cannot tear themselves away from Battlestar Galactica. Mind you, I'd gone on a personal Battlestar Galactica marathon as well, but there are so many episodes and the plot lines eventually came to seem repetitive, so my interest had eventually waned. Game of Thrones, though, is significantly better; its world is more fully-realized and, strange as it may seem, the laws of its nature are better enforced. Then there's this: only two seasons of it exist. (Ray has also been watching Game of Thrones, but because he watches the episodes soon after they are broadcast and he is many episodes ahead of me, there are limits to what we can discuss.)
Back to the laws of nature in the Game of Thrones universe. It's a medieval fantasy show, so one expects there to be magic and supernatural goings on. But they happen so sparingly that when they do happen, they tend to be, well, magical. The other option would be "groan-inducing." It's just a little more range for their otherwise primitive iron-age technology.
While most of the show is about the brutal intrigues between bloodthirsty families, we keep returning to a massive ice wall at the north of the kingdom, a wall to keep out... well, so far nobody seems sure exactly what. We're given a clue in the first episode of season one. There is some dark supernatural creature in the north ("White Walkers") with the power to kill and possibly reanimate the dead, but there are nevertheless people ("Wildlings") living north of the wall, so we're left wondering: why is that wall so damn important? Why is so much energy being put into guarding it? To me it seems like a metaphor for the crises humans face as a species, crises that transcend the relatively petty squabbles between Iran and Isræl (or even between Al Qaeda and the United States). If, for example, global warming gets really brutal, an engineering project on the scale of the Game of Thrones ice wall might be necessary to hold back our very own White Walkers.

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