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:
   Reichel Road ammo cache
Thursday, April 4 2013
Conditons were warmer and more springlike today, enough so that Gretchen actually threw open the bedroom windows this morning (prematurely, I might add, as temperatures at the time were still in the 40s). Still, there was a new springlike sound in the air, a wheezy "Phoebe! Phoebe!" as a small flycatcher repeatedly shouted the name of its species.
I had to walk the dogs this morning, so I took advantage of the nicer weather to take them on a hike I'd never before taken. I headed northwestward from the farm road generally parallel to Dug Hill Road, though always 300 or 400 feet to the southeast. (Along the way, Eleanor spotted and then gingerly avoided the first snake of the season, a a largish garter snake warming itself in the sun.) I continued all the way up to Reichel Road. Just before I reach it, though, I found an odd rectangular object concealed behind a mound rocks (41.930938N, 74.114692W). It turned out to be a valuables safe that someone had broken open. Inside of it was a collection of unfired bullets ranging from 0.22 to 0.30 inches in diameter. I took all the bullets (and a wingnut on a bolt) home and eventually photographed them. As you can see, the bullets have been exposed to the weather and it's doubtful they'd still fire in a gun (not that I have one).

After finding the safe, the dogs and I walked mostly southwestard parallel to Reichel Road (and the houses along it). I'd never been in this area before and so didn't know how easy it would be for hiking (there were a number of forest roads to walk on). Along the southeast property line of the Reichel Road houses ran a well-built stone wall that was wide enough along its top to walk on. It was probably built in the 18th or 19th century, back when the Dutch or the English tried to turn these hills into sheep pasture.

As you may remember, I've been having reliability problems with Lemur, my Athlon64-based computer. Today, following some advice I found on the web, I decided to install a temperature logger called CoreTemp. Though the processor temperature had never seemed to go above about 45 degrees celsius (and seemed to be in that range even immediately after one of the unpredictable power losses), perhaps logging the CPU's temperature would give me useful information. Indeed it did. It turned out that processor temperature was spiking up to the auto-shutoff temperature (I think it's 95 degrees celsius) just prior to power failure. This accounted for why replacing the power supply, video card, and memory had had no effect on the computer's reliability. The problem had been the CPU's cooling system all along. Unfortunately, though, none of my several attempts at improving that cooling system (undertaken this evening) proved effective. These included the use of other fans and a thorough vacuuming of the existing CPU heatsink (though I didn't attempt to replace it).

The other day I'd read an article in about a reality show called Buckwild, whose main star had just died in a tragic only-in-Redneckstan-style accident. (He'd been mudbogging with a couple relatives, the tail pipe of his truck had become clogged with mud, and all three had died from carbon monoxide poisoning.) After reading the story, I'd wanted to see a few episodes, so I'd downloaded them via Bittorrent. Up until that point I'd only had a vague awareness of the show. It's in the model of The Real World or Jersey Shore, presenting (in obviously semi-scripted form), the supposed real lives of carefree young adults. As had been the case with The Real World (the first of such shows), Buckwild is carried by MTV, though in the process it also satisfies the perennial American obsession with southern white trash (think Here Comes Honey Boo Boo). I should mention that I have not had any reason to watch any programming on MTV in over 15 years and am unaware of what else one might watch on it.
Watching some episodes today, I found the "reality" aspect of Buckwild unconvincing. Usually in modern reality shows, the producers are so deeply-embedded with their subjects that interactions among the "characters" seems fluid and natural. On Buckwild, though, a lot of the dialog seems coached or even scripted. In one scene, for example, our hero (the now late) Shain Gandee is seen carrying a jar of money off to bury with the help of a post hole digger. His friends catch him doing this and a conversation follows, but it seems wooden and unconvincing. And why wouldn't it? My friend Josh Furr used to bury money in his yard too, but nobody was ever going to catch him doing it. And if they did happen to catch him, he certainly wouldn't (as was shown with Shain and his jar of money) go through with the burial.
Another problem with the show is how the characters are shown recreating. There are lots of contrived scenes depicting elaborate white trash forms of outdoor entertainment (including various waterslides, one of which was powered by a backhoe). But real young adults in the real world don't do such things; they play video games, take drugs, and update their Facebook profiles. Particularly in West Virginia, which is a standout even in America for its obesity rate. I'm guessing the producers of Buckwild needed something else for our heroes to be doing when they weren't hooking up, and that couldn't be drugs. So they developed a series of fun (yet thoroughly hillbilly) forms of entertainment.
One final issue concerns the composition of the group in which Buckwild immerses us. It consists of three boys and four or five girls. While the boys have the accents, attitudes, and interests of genuine hillbillies, none of the girls do. They play along, of course, but their generic accents and distant, relatively urbane hometowns suggest to me that they were recruited for the show after the boys had already been cast. This is particularly true of Salwa, the one "diversity" character (who, though from Bangladesh and dating an attractive African American man, for some reason finds herself hanging out with white trash and showing her pixelated tits in the center of West Virginia).

This evening Gretchen made an exceptionally delicious meal of gnocchi in a hearty red sauce. Normally I gobble my food like a glutton, but this was so special that I savored every morsel. And there is nothing so morselly as a nugget of gnocchi in red sauce.

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