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:
   kindling for housesitters
Wednesday, November 13 2013
Though things were breaking left and right, I was pleased today with a meeting in the laboratory in which I showed my web-enabled Lightroom plugin to the person paying me to develop it. He gave me a big check, which certainly helped.
We'd be leaving soon for Los Angeles, so I needed to make things easier for our housesitters. Over the years I've learned that it doesn't matter how bright a person is, if they have no experience with a woodstove then they tend to do stupid stuff like pile kindling in front of it, shovel hot ashes into plastic buckets, and occasionally to leave plastic buckets full of hot ashes next to piles of waste paper. Then there's the whole "I think I can compress a piece of firewood into a shorter object if I use the door of the woodstove as lever." For these reasons, I've made a detailed instruction sheet for our particular stove. But even that is not enough if I want our housesitters to be able to successfully operate the stove. I have to present all the wood they will be burning in a convenient stack, with small pieces of kindling mixed in nicely with big klutzes (that's the term my father used). One of my goals for this afternoon was to take a chainsaw into the woods and gather some old dry wood (probably American Chestnut, which is something of a fossil fuel). But when I tried to start up the chainsaw next to the downed tree in question, it refused to come to life. I pulled the cord so many times that I had to rest a bit before I could trudge back home. The chainsaw had been out in the garage, and it's been unseasonably cold for over a day, so I suspect the saw's problems were temperature-related. I put it in the house to warm up and then went out with a couple of buckets and gathered small kindling (mostly the small super-dry dead lower branches of hemlocks). I also dragged home a couple of tall, thin dead trees (one a pine and another something like a White Ash) to cut into good pieces for getting a fire started.
Deborah came over this evening with her dog Allou and we had a quinoa-pasta-and-cream-sauce dinner in the living room in front of the fire while the dogs chewed on their toys. We spent a lot of time discussing Deborah's latest boyfriend Chris, whose Aspergery behaviors is driving Deborah crazy. Some of what she described definitely was Aspergery, though a lot of it sounded to me like typical undomesticated male behavior. Having been raised by Aspergery people myself, I had poor models for developing social grace (though, unlike some of our houseguests, my parents did teach me that it is important to always bring something when visiting others). But I gradually learned what I needed to know. Friends aren't invested enough to teach these things, so I had to learn them from girlfriends. And most girlfriends are too milquetoast to lay out their needs, so I wasn't fully domesticated until Gretchen came along. The problem with Deborah's boyfriend Chris is that he's like fifty years old and he's never had a serious girlfriend. So Deborah has her work cut out for her.

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