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
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Like my brownhouse:
   pin punch shopping
Monday, May 18 2015
I really didn't want to be sick today, and initially at least I seemed much better. My sore throat was much-reduced, and my energy level suggested my temperature was normal. When I measured it, it was down to 98.4. The main problem I had was a cough, one that would occasionally become so violent that it threatened to send me into retching. With a little help from my old buddy dextromethorphan, though, I had that under control too. So I decided I was well enough to borrow the Prius to go into town to get some proper pin punches, the one thing I still needed to complete the repair of the Subaru. I could have gone to Uptown, but I figured I'd have more retail options along 9W, so, after getting a bunch of different fruits and fruit juices at the ShopRite, I looked at the punch options at the Home Depot. None of the punches they sold (and they were all in kits of at least six) were any better than the stuff I had already back at the house, at least for the specific application I had: removing the pin securing the right-front axle to the engine. So then I tried the nearby Autozone, but their punch selection wasn't any better (I did, however, buy a 22 millimeter spanner, something I surprisingly didn't have). On the way to Lowes, I remembered the option of Sears at the Hudson Valley Mall (usually Sears doesn't even occur to me when I need something, but they have a huge selection of tools). On the way into Sears, I stopped at the Chinese place on the food court and bought my customary two egg rolls (which used to cost a little over two dollars and are now costs significantly more than three).
After some poking around in the deserted Sears tool aisle, I found their rack of punches. They had multiple sets, some self-centering, some straight, and they even had individual punches that weren't parts of set. Had one of those been of the right size, I would've gone for it, but I ended up having to buy a $30 set of extra-long straight punches. In size and shape, they closely resembled the Craftsman punch set my Dad used to use for woodworking and perhaps other things. I also used my Dad's punches to do stuff, and he used to yell at me for putting them away improperly. While my Dad's were made of shiny (perhaps stainless) steel, these new ones from Sears had a black matte finish. Of course, if my mother weren't insane, I would've inherited my father's punches years ago, but instead they languish forgotten somewhere beneath a pile of horse supply catalogs from the mid-90s. I'll inherit them someday I suppose.

On the way home, I stopped at the new (for me) spot at the edge of the cornfield just south of the middle of Wynkoop (41.928223N, 74.072346W), and this time the dogs and I headed southeastward into the strip of woods. There's a path through that woods that leads to a wide spot on the Esopus that includes an island with a cherry tree growing on it. It looked like another great place for launching kayaks.
Meanwhile back at the house, Gretchen hadn't fully recovered yet from her instance of this head cold we both have. She spent a lot of time today down in the greenhouse upstairs, taking a long nap while I was gone. The last time I was this sick, there was no greenhouse upstairs, but in recent days it's been proving its worth to me as a sickbed. I've been sleeping down there for a number of reasons. In the greenhouse, Sylvia doesn't show up and insist on lying on my face (as she does in the bedroom and even sometimes on the teevee room couch). In the greenhouse, the air is clean and there's no noise from the teevee or, say, Ramona rooting around under the bed trying to get to a puddle of cat vomit. While it's true that when gun nuts are monotonously target practicing with high-powered rifles at the bus turnaround, it's also loud in the greenhouse, for the most part all one hears there is the sound of chirping birds. Or rain falling on its galvanized steel roof.

Throughout the day, my condition relapsed a bit and my temperature rose back up to 101 degrees Fahrenheit (not Celsius!). Ibuprofen seems to be the wonder drug in situations like this, and, by taking 400 milligrams, my temperature actually fell below 98 degrees.
Yesterday I hadn't even been well enough to take a bath, but today I could manage it. It was good to soak in some hot water and rinse all the accumulated salt from my skin. With sickness comes night sweats, and even if there's nothing bad about becoming a salt lick, I'd rather not be one.

Something I'd overheard on one of Gretchen's Sherlock-Holmes-themed shows made mention of the "Who's On First" joke, to which I was first introduced by the movie Rain Man. I've never understood the joke, never asked anyone about it, and never looked it up. I'd just assumed it was something everyone understood except me because of my unusually-shallow understanding of baseball, a sport that, like most sports, doesn't interest me at all. But today I went through the effort and looked it up on Wikipedia. It turns out that the essence of the joke is misunderstanding rooted in ambiguous homophones. A person with the actual name of "Who" is playing baseball, and so when one asks the question "Who's on first?" it could be interpreted as a declarative sentence. And hilarity inevitably ensues.

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