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

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Like my brownhouse:
   Catform and Ramona's office
Friday, August 31 2012
I woke up early this morning but for some reason I didn't feel like taking an ambien, so instead I got up and began my working day. But I kept getting distracted by an increasingly complicated side project. My new HP 2510p laptop had come with only an 80 Gigabyte drive, which seemed small on a computer capable of playing movies. So I'd bought a 500 GB Momentus SATA hybrid drive before noticing that the 2510p, though modern enough to have gotten rid of serial and parallel ports, only accepts 1.8 inch PATA hard drives (and it also has an integrated phoneline modem!). So then I'd had to buy something called a DVD caddy allowing me to replace the DVD burner (of dubious utility on a laptop) with the SATA drive of my choice, in this case the 500 GB Momentus. Such caddies can be had cheaply ($12) for replacing standard-sized laptop DVD burners, but the 2510p uses an especially thin burner, so its replacement caddy can only be bought from a company called Newmodeus ($42). Unfortunately, I've been finding that, while it's possible to get my 2510p to read and write to a hard drive installed this way, it cannot successfully boot from it. Furthermore, the presence of a 2.5 inch drive in the 2510p significantly increases its power appetite and heat output. This morning, I continued various experiments in hopes of getting a bootable OS onto the caddy-mounted hard drive, but it proved impossible. Along the way I encountered some problems with my installation CDs and tried switching from one external CD drive to another. Since the power connectors for these drives looked the same (five-pin miniature DIN connectors), I didn't bother swapping out the power bricks when I swapped the drives. This was a mistake; evidently the Iomega CD burner expects different voltages on the pins than the Pioneer DVD burner's power brick supplies. The result was a small acrid cloud of smoke and suddenly-useless CD burner. I immediately took it apart and found that the problem was a tiny RF choke that had blown like a fuse. By bypassing that choke with a short piece of wire , I restored the CD burner to functionality. All of this was a huge distraction from the web development I should have been doing, though I nevertheless got a lot of that done as well.

Yesterday Gretchen had dropped Ramona off at the veterinary knee specialist east of Newburgh, where $2500 worth of luxating patella repair was performed. Today Gretchen would be driving down there again to pick up our freshly-repaired dog. But before that could happen, we had to prepare a place for Ramona to recuperate. The orders from the doctor are to constrain a dog within an area no larger than four feet by four feet for the two to three months that recuperation is expected to take. Gretchen and I have done this twice with Eleanor (in her case it was blown ACLs), and our solution in those cases was to barricade Eleanor in the first floor office. The plan this time was to barricade Ramona in the first floor office, but to also make the space smaller and also separate it from the adjacent mud room. To pull this off, I erected a two-by-four pillar connecting the floor to the ceiling (all I had to do was wedge it in place between the carpet and the drywall overhead). Then I placed a seven foot wire grid panel (the kind used for reinforcing concrete) between the pillar and the wall and attached a makeshift gate to the pillar with hinges. This reduced the size of the first floor office by about twenty percent. To block off the mud room, Gretchen used the Evenflow child barricade we've used for such purposes for years (some of its wooden slats are full of bite marks and a few are broken from Eleanor's attempts to rip her way through it).
When Gretchen returned with Ramona early this evening, our normally-energetic pooch was behaving with unusual deliberation owing to the narcotics she'd been given. Her repaired leg (the right one) had been shaved a quarter way up her back, and the incision itself had been sutured with staples. The cut was so clean and so tightly sealed that the vet had seen no reason to bandage it. To keep her from chewing at her sutures, Ramona had been given stiff plastic "cone of shame." Unlike an Elizabethan collar, this cone could not be folded down around her shoulders. It seemed unnecessarily-brutal in terms of how it restricted Ramona's abilities to interact with the world around her. For example, it stuck out far enough forward to interfere with the processes of eating and drinking.

Today for the first time in weeks I finally had enough extra free time to do some more work on the greenhouse upstairs. So I installed the already-fabricated Wonderboard-floored platform that will cantilever out from high on the east end of the south-facing wall. The plan for this platform is for it to provide either a nice place for cats to sunbathe or a sunny spot to start seedlings. Henceforth I shall be referring to this platform as the "catform."

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