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:
   within the reception area
Monday, March 17 2014
The heavy-duty backpack frame I recently got to help me with my firewood salvaging has not been without its faults, all of which (from reading reviews) I was aware of before I ordered it. The other day while gathering wood west of the Farm Road, one of the shoulder straps tore loose from the bottom of the frame, essentially rendering the backpack useless. The threads had torn out of a weak run of stitching, precisely as they had for several of the backpack's reviewers. This was probably the inevitable result of getting the backpack up onto my shoulders, which often puts all the weight of the backpack on just one strap, sometimes applied in a sudden jolt. This morning I used some particularly thick thread (doubled up, as always when I sew) to resew the strap's lower attachment. I also sewed some additional support thread into the other strap's bottom attachment, thereby hoping to avoid a future backpack-disabling event in the forest.
Gretchen had left for work before 10am and it was my job to take the dogs for their morning walk, and I took the backpack frame and battery-powered chainsaw with me. Temperatures were in the low 20s, discouraging me from taking an especially long walk. So I made a shortcut through the forest somewhat north of the southmost part of the Chamomile Headwaters Trail, mostly to stay within the reception area of my pirate FM radio station and not miss the part of the Slate Culture Gabfest where they more-or-less panned Neil deGrasse Tyson's remake of Cosmos as being too kitchy. Shortly after getting to the part of the Stick Trail that actually runs over real estate that Gretchen and I own, I cut down a smallish dead & dry oak and then bucked it into pieces. It proved to be two pieces more wood than I could comfortably get onto the pack, and though I didn't weigh it, I would guess it was about 70 pounds of nice hot-burning wood.
Back at the house, I immediately used that wood to stoke up a hot fire. I took advantage of that heat to melt my accumulated collection of beer cans, producing a crude aluminum ingot weighing a little less than two pounds.

I received a cheap USB oscilloscope in the mail from China today. It's a well-made device in a small aluminum box and comes with a set of probes that are of a quality and utility I have never before seen in a probe. They're designed to clip onto tiny nubs of metal (such as a soldered pin protruding through the bottom of a circuit breadboard). I have similar probes I bought from Sparkfun, but they're complete crap compared to the probes that came with this little oscilloscope. Just to be clear, a USB oscilloscope does not have any display of its own; instead it relies on some client software running on a computer. It took some experimenting and trial and error to determine what software to use (the device came with a tiny CD-ROM), a task made more difficult due to the spotty English translations in the documentation. I just needed to prove to myself that the device worked, and when I got it to trace a genuine waveform coming out of a 433 MHz receiver board, that was good enough for me.

This evening Gretchen and I watched the last episode of True Detective, a show that she loved but which I merely enjoyed. Unlike Gretchen, I don't especially appreciate the puzzle of a murder mystery. And I generally find plots that revolve around serial killers to be tiresome. What I was mostly there for was the moody gothic atmospherics of the show, with its creepy panoramic shots of coastal Louisiana. Also, the climax scene of the final episode looked like it was shot at Fort Jackson, a place Gretchen and I visited in 2004.

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