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:
   new soul for a 14 year old computer case
Saturday, December 13 2014
Overnight, Ramona seemed to have completely recovered from the infection in her muzzle. The swelling was down, and the injuries that had been leaking disgusting grey rivulets of pus had dried up and scabbed over. Most telling of all was that Ramona seemed to have most of her energy back, and she enthusiastically joined Gretchen and Eleanor on the morning walk.
It was not a terribly cold day for mid-December. The sun was out and temperatures were in the 40s, so there was no urgency to start a fire. This gave me the first opportunity in weeks to empty out the ashes and also to do a chore I only do once a year: scour the chimney pipe with a rod so as to remove the accumulated creosote. Using my digital scale, I determined that I removed 20.8 pounds of ashes and extracted somewhere between four and six pounds of creosote (all of which I later burned). This is yet another data point in my ongoing log of ash removal, a task I last did on August 17th.

Number of daysAsh
Est. firewood burntEst. firewood/day
Nov 14-Dec 19 20133613.5 lbs0.27 cords29 lbs
Dec 20 2013-Jan 22 20143320.5 lbs0.41 cords48 lbs
Jan 23 2014-Feb 19 20142824 lbs0.48 cords66.23 lbs
Feb 20 2014-Mar 20 20142916 lbs0.32 cords42.63 lbs
Apr 21 2014-Aug 16 201411810.6 lbs0.21 cords6.94 lbs
Aug 17-Dec 12 201411820.8 lbs0.41 cords13.62 lbs

After Saturday morning coffee, Gretchen drove to New Paltz and took a bus into the city (she barely caught the bus; it actually somehow got ahead of her on the way to the park & ride). Completely coincidentally, Nancy was on that bus, so they sat together. But Nancy wasn't going into the City to do what Gretchen intended to do. Gretchen was going to attend the massive rally against racist police brutality organized after the refusal of a grand jury to indict the policeman who strangled Eric Garner to death. Nancy had other business in the City, and, as for the rally, she nervously said something about not liking big crowds.
I don't like big crowds either, and didn't feel that being another face in a huge crowd was the best use of my time. Now that Ramona had a visit scheduled with the Hurley vet, that was another thing I needed to do.
We had a new veterinarian for Ramona today. He was a tall youngish guy with curly hair and was surprisingly unassertive about ways he could have charged me more. He gave Ramona an exam, determined that she was on the mend, and suggested we double the length of her antibiotics course from five to ten days. Remarkably, though, he gave me the option to have the housecall vet call that prescription in instead of selling them to me right there at the high Hurley vet markup. (A ten day course directly from Walgreens costs about $25; from the Hurley vet it might be $40.) Somehow I made it out of there after spending only $25.
When I returned home, I saw that the Honda Civic Hybrid had vanished. Evidently the irritating woman who had bought it had finally returned to retrieve it. Best of all, I didn't have to interact with her at all. That chapter of my life is finally over.
I turned my attention to building out a new computer using that small Socket 775 motherboard that had arrived yesterday. I decided to use an existing case to house it, one manufactured by Compaq that I'd found on the street in Brooklyn back in 2002. It might surprise you to learn that a piece of computer hardware that was thrown out as obsolete twelve years ago can still be useful, but this particular case is remarkable because it is tiny and has an internal chassis made entirely of aluminum. Not only that, it perfectly fit the much newer Socket 775 motherboard, and I could even use its ancient (and unusually small) ATX power supply by simply adding one of those little square four-pin 12 volt & ground connectors (it didn't need the additional four pin adjunct on the main power connector). The Compaq case did, of course, already have a working computer in it, but it was very obsolete one based on a VIA C7 processor. The Core 2 Duo replacing it (I'm not using the Core 2 Quad for now) runs about ten times faster. For comparison, the original computer that the Compaq case shipped with was built around a 450 MHz AMD K6 and ran a little better than half as fast as the VIA C7. It would have come out some time in 1998, meaning that when it was thrown out in 2002, it was only four years old.

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