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:
   dogs, cats, and wet paint on the floor
Monday, December 15 2014
I went down to the greenhouse downstairs today to check on the two pots of plants I'd saved from the Wall Street house. One contains a Spider Plant and something else, and the other looks like some sort of bromeliad. Despite the fact that temperatures are usually somewhere in the 40s down there (unless the sun is shining), both plants appear to be doing well. The water in the excavation had gone down somewhat, allowing me to cross over to the west wall and retrieve the August MP3 player from its perch up on the ledge supporting the line of glass blocks that serve as the west window. After the autumn of 2013, I retrieved that MP3 player from the same spot and found it covered in mold. Thinking the moisture had been wicked into it from contact with the concrete, this summer I'd placed it on a block of styrofoam, hoping to insulate it from moist surfaces. But at some point it had stopped responding to the remote, so I needed to investigate. Once I had it in my hands today, I could see that there were drops of water on the SD cart protruding from its top. Evidently that card had been a cold enough surface for water to condense there right out of the air. In the house, I opened it up and found sheets of greyish-green mold which released great clouds of spores when I blew on it (unlike most people, I have no concern whatsoever about such spores). Since the MP3 player refused to respond to the remote even after I'd dried off the SD card, I decided to scrub the mold off the circuit boards and put the whole thing aside to dry. Later, I discovered the MP3 player was working just fine and the whole time the problem had been that the batteries in the remote had died, which I hadn't expected. (The remote is only about six months old and is powered by two AAA batteries, so it should have been good for five or six years. Evidently the Chinese manufacturer hadn't engineered it to conserve batteries.)

Inside my MP3 player after I retrieved it. Click to enlarge.

In amongst some prep work trying to install a Hackintosh operating system on my new Core 2 Duo computer, I continued work on painting it, particularly in the front. This was mostly to continue the striped pattern across the face of the DVD burner while trying to avoid gumming up its mechanisms. I looked down at one point and was horrified to see that at least a tablespoon of Cadmium Yellow Deep Hue acrylic paint had somehow disgorged from one of my tubes onto the floor. Once that happens, you either let it go to waste or you use it; there is no salvage possible. It's a cheap acrylic paint (Liquitex Basics), but I hate to waste it, so I proceeded to add some additional two-dimensional yellow blobs to the exisiting pattern painted on the floor (which I haven't fundamentally changed since completing it in early 2003). The problem with painting the floor is that dogs and cats will blithely walk across fresh paint and track it everywhere. This happened several times during the initial painting and in also during the subsequent retouches. Since she moves around the most, I identified Celeste as the one cat to definitely lock out of the laboratory. Meanwhile Julius (aka "Stripey") was on the steps leading up to the laboratory deck and seemed, for the time being at least, unlikely to move. But then somehow he ended up underfoot while I was using a trace of paint left on my brush to further elaborate a painting of the sun that has gradually been materializing on the side of a cardboard box. I didn't see him and accidentally stepped on his tail. He reacted with a loud hiss, and, finding he couldn't free himself from beneath my heel (I was only wearing socks), the little fucker bit the back of my shin. So now he was worked up and I needed to chase him out of the laboratory before he stepped in the paint. But in opening the door to the teevee room to give him a place to flee to, Celeste slipped in and had soon stepped in the yellow paint. I grabbed her and washed her feet in the bucket of water that I keep for the animals to drink from (only a trace of poisonous cadmium dissolved into it) while simultaneously shooing Julius away from the wet paint. What a disaster! Eventually I got everyone out of the laboratory except Eleanor, who stayed on the ottoman through the whole fiasco. Julius was so traumatized by the experienced that he shunned me for five or six hours afterwards, retreating to the basement for much of that time. He usually only goes down there when guests are visiting.

This evening I met Gretchen at Catskill Mountain Pizza, and we were soon joined by J & D, our friends who run the farm animal sanctuary in Willow. Everybody else had wanted to go someplace fancier like New World or Rick's Wood Fired Pizza. But for some reason everybody bowed to my request. I prefer a traditional bluecollar pizza place to those other options. Unfortunately, there were no IPAs on tap, so I settled for a fairly good pale ale instead. Later I found out they had bottles of Little Sumpin' Extra and I had one of those as well. As for dinner conversation, as always, it mostly centered around the latest travails of J & D. J had gotten up at a public meeting concerning the fate of some DEP land controlled by the Village of Woodstock, and said something disparaging about hunters. Somewhat predictably, this had resulted in blowback at the local school, and a planned field trip to the sanctuary had been canceled. J tries, but she just cannot be diplomatic.
I'd had the dogs in my car during the whole meal, which seemed to horrify Gretchen, J, and D. They were concerned about them being cold. Though there was frost forming on the outsides of the cars, my feeling is that you can leave dogs in an unheated car for a couple hours when temperatures are in the 30s. If they'd been cold, they would have been shivering, something Eleanor does fairly frequently even in our house (though that might be due to her nervousness, which has increased as she ages).

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