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:
   shit, peas, and a new crown for my tooth
Tuesday, April 21 2015
Usually the 30 gallon trash can ("shit bucket") that collects humanure in the brownhouse reaches capacity by late January if it started out empty in the late summer. This year, though, I was able to make it all the way from the early Autumn all the way until today (though I had to use a stick to knock over frozen shit stalagmites on two occasions during the winter). The reason for this apparent additional capacity was probably because I hadn't included any sort of æration system (or a basement layer of pine needles) in the shit bucket, allowing the humanure to collect more densely than it has in the past. I removed the shit bucket from the brownhouse today and replaced it with an empty (also without an æration system). Once out of the brownhouse, I lugged the shitty can (which was only about half full) to be conveniently beside the drum composter and proceeded to pound ten gallons of dry pine needles into the foul yellowish-brown fecal accumulation within it. Though the can only held about 15 gallons' worth of material after six months of use, not all of it was human feces; some of that mass includes things like toilet paper, toilet paper cores, and stray cellulosic debris.
In the course of harvesting a short section of pine tree to use as a stick for poking pine needles all the way to the bottom of the shit bucket, I came upon Celeste the Cat proudly laying atop a small garter snake she'd captured. Ramona seemed nearly as impressed with her capture as Celeste was proud and I was horrified. I lifted up the snake, carried it away, and secreted it into a grotto in the the stone retaining wall of the southmost tomato patch. The snake wasn't completely dead, but it wasn't very much alive either. Still, it's hard to tell with exhausted snakes on cool days. It had an injury on one side, but it didn't look lethal, so perhaps it still had a chance. Sometimes all I can do is provide a plausible scenario by which I can take comfort in a rescued creature somehow surviving.
In gardening news, today I planted several dozen pea plants along the north and east edges of the main garden patch. On the north edge, the peas were Tom Thumb Peas and on the east edge they were Laxton's Progress Peas (from a seed packet painted by our friend Susan of Susan & David).

In the mid-afternoon I drove out to my dentist in West Hurley to have my computer-milled porcelain crown installed. Things were a little backed-up when I arrived, so I sat on a couch in the waiting area and read an article about the Chilean miners trapped in a mountain from an old copy of the New Yorker that was there on the coffee table. Before long, a couple older (than me) middle aged had joined me in the waiting room. One looked like an older variant of Comic Book Guy from the Simpsons, one looked like a pipe fitter (a little too blue collar for the Woodstocky vibe of the place), and one was an aging musician. Sparked by an exchange between one of them and the woman running the desk, they all started having a loud conversation in which they said utterly predictable things about their dead fathers, especially how they wished they'd asked them more questions. One of them went on to tell a few terrible jokes his father had once told, and then they all laughed with the kind of wheezy laughter that I don't think can come from doing anything but smoking thousands of cigarettes.
An enormously fat woman showed up, and she just stood there in one place, evidently out of fear that if she sat on a couch or chair there would be no way for her to get back to her feet again. She had the look of someone who had completely let herself go to the point of never leaving the house, though evidently there was a crisis going on in her mouth that had flushed her out into the public. It wasn't long before she was taken to the back to get her work done.
Later a young woman with a nose ring joined our sausage party, and she made the mistake sitting next to the aging musician. He immediately struck up a conversation with her in which he made repeated references to his music career. I felt bad for her because I knew from the time he'd passed near me that his mouth stank of a harsh chemical muting a terrible underlying biological fragrance. At her first opportunity, she and her nose ring moved to the opposite side of the waiting room.
Once I'd been called to the back and prepped, I was sure things were about to happen. But then I waited, and waited, and waited. I could hear loud grinding and drilling coming from the next room over; apparently a dental scenario was proving unexpectedly complicated. After 20 minutes or so, I got up to take a piss. That seemed to be what rattled the dental gods into fetching me my dentist. When he appeared, he apologized for the delay, and then, in the air, drew with his hands a very unusual arrangement of teeth he'd just had to extricate from an unfortunate gentleman's jaw. "I think I need therapy!" his assistant added, and she wasn't entirely joking. Perhaps this banter violated the convention of patient-doctor privilege, but they clearly felt they owed me an explanation for why I had been sitting there so long. The work on my tooth, once it began, went quickly. I got a shot of local anæsthetic, the temporary crown was plucked off in a single action, and then the new porcelain crown was glued on with the kind of adhesive that cures under ultraviolet light. Initially it felt too tall by at least a sixteenth of an inch, but the dentist corrected this after only about five minutes of grinding, testing, grinding, and testing (the testing being done with that blue tape that stains teeth where they press against one another).
I walked out of that dental office feeling great about my new crown. It felt like a real tooth when I ran my tongue along it. And the bite was perfect.
I felt bad for the dogs, who had been waiting for me all this time in the car. But I still needed to drive into Woodstock to see what the PVC conduit junction box options were at the hardware store in the center of the village. They had a nice deep box for $10 that hadn't been available at Home Depot, so I bought that.
On the way out of Woodstock, Ramona was moaning a lot, and I feared she had to poop or piss. So when I got to the Stewarts at the corner of Zena and Route 28, I put her on a leash and walked her around behind the building. Whatever her problem was, it wasn't that. So I put her back in the car, went into the Stewarts and bought a coffee and a plastic cup of mixed nuts designed to be eaten while driving.
I stopped at the West Hurley Park on Dug Hill Road to give the dogs a short walk in the forest. There was a cute collie-ish dog offleash when we arrived, but I didn't want my dogs to interact with him/her (since Eleanor was still presumably infectious with kennel cough). Somehow the excitement of the park was enough of a distraction and my dogs got nowhere near that one.

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