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:
   a bad place for urine
Wednesday, April 22 2015
There was a stone step down to the brownhouse and greenhouse that had been subtly driving me crazy for years because of its tendency to rock slightly under my weight. So today I found a massive wedge-shaped piece of bluestone a quarter mile down the Farm Road, brought it back with the hand truck, and used a series of boards as a ramp to carefully slide it down to where it needed to be from above. I'd already cleared away the old step, a pair of smaller stones cemented together with concrete. Underneath it, I'd found a Ring-necked Snake, which I was careful to relocate before digging out a foundation for the new step. According to Wikipedia, Ring-necked Snakes are actually somewhat venomous, but they have small teeth and are unlikely to bite, so I just picked it up with my fingers.
It's been gloomy of late, but I wanted to take a shower before Gretchen and I went out tonight. So I went down to the boiler room to turn on the electric just-in-time hot water heater, which makes it possible to have hot water when the boiler is off and there hasn't been much sun. While I was there, I decided to consolidate the the antifreeze from among the many gallon-sized bottles lined up along the water. I felt some fluid in one and dumped it in, only to be surprised by its relatively clear appearance. Wait, if that's not antifreeze, what is it? Then I remembered. At some point within the past several weeks I'd been frantically trying to fix something down there and couldn't take a break to piss. So I'd just urinated into an antifreeze bottle. The problem with doing that was that I didn't dump out the urine once I was finished in the boiler room. So now I'd just taken on the problem of what happens when ten or so ounces of urine get added to a many-gallon hydronic system? On the one hand, the urine was fairly watery (because it always is in the middle of the day when I've been drinking a lot of tea). But on the other hand, it contains ammonia and salts, and I didn't want them to contribute to the premature decay of the copper-and-cast-iron plumbing. I did some research about this, but it was inconclusive. So far, though, the urine was still outside of the hydronic system, as it was now only contaminating the dilute antifreeze in the five gallon reservoir bucket.

Tonight Gretchen and I drove down to Accord to visit Carrie & Michæl. For the past four months or so, Carrie has been working as a live-in nanny for her sister in Los Angeles, but she was back home on for a few days, and had invited all her friends over for a pot luck. Gretchen's contribution to the potluck was a bunch of tiny cupcake-like desserts and a kind of vegan hamburger made with walnuts, mushrooms, tempeh, and a few other things. My contribution was a bottle of Sontava Habañero sauce.
Things were a little weird at the potluck because Deborah was in attendance, and Gretchen and her have been having a messy fight via email ever since Deborah began seeing a certain therapist who somehow convinced her that Gretchen's feelings about dietary lifestyle were a form of judgment she would be better off avoiding. I quickly decided that the fight wasn't my problem, and I socialized with Deborah as though things were completely normal. She and I and a few others in our corner of the table spent much of the evening telling tales of embarrassing things that have happened at dental offices and other medical facilities. For her part, Gretchen spent most of the evening talking to Ken, one of two seed library guys (they live next door to Carrie & Michæl). Dinner was a vegan Mexican buffet, and I don't remember seeing Deborah sneak out to her car to grab some bone broth or chorizo to bring it up to whatever her new dietary standards happen to be.
Speaking of cars and Deborah, one of the things she told me at diner tonight was that she recently traded in her old Toyota Matrix for a black 2013 Prius, and she loves it. Unlike ours, its radio can connect wirelessly with her phone via Bluetooth. Gretchen said that it looks enough like ours that there was a chance she might have accidentally driven it home when she left (easy to do when the keyless fob is carelessly left in the car), though she hadn't. For a long time, a large number of our friends drove silver Matrix-type cars (in Michæl's case, his was actually a Scion, though he recently wrecked it). But now three people in our social circle drive black Priuses.
Topics discussed with everyone's attention at the table included tales of various odd bowel movements, and Gretchen had me tell the story of the time I had some virus or blood infection and somehow managed to shit out lettuce that hadn't even wilted on its way through my 25 feet of plumbing (that happened in the late 80s or early 90s). Indeed, and this was something that caused some to utter gasps of incredulity to hear, it still had french dressing on it!

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