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:
   fixed Subaru frontend
Tuesday, May 19 2015
I woke up in a sweat-soaked shirt down in the greenhouse this morning, though at least I'd had a solid night of sleep, with none of the coughing fits and sore throat discomforts that have awaken me on past nights. It helped that a steady rain fell for much of the night, creating a sound on the metal roof that I (but not Gretchen) find conducive for sleep.
Oddly, it seems that this particular head cold is only affecting the left side of my body. I still have a spot of soreness in the left corner of my throat, and while my right nostril is clear and I can breathe through it normally, my left nostril is congested and produces massive amounts of thick, viscous snot. I don't know which of my lungs is causing me to cough, but it's possible that they both suffer because of the constant rain of mucus dripping down my trachea the left side of my head. That's the thing about sharing infrastructure the way a human body does. Even if a disease is localized to an organ or a half, immune responses like fevers and mucus production will afflict the entire organism.
I spent much of the day working on the Subaru, installing replacements for the three broken components I'd identified (while hoping there were other broken components hidden from view). I had a few scares along the way, like when I finally pounded the pin out of the right front axle and was able to remove it. Laying it next to the brand new axle intended to replace it, the two didn't appear to be similar in length at all. The old one was at least six inches longer. But then I figured out that this could be explained by the break in one of the CV joints and the permanent extension of the other one. These joints are contained within rubber boots designed to accordion to large sizes as the joints themselves stretch. In the case of my new axle, the boots were fresh and resilient, holding onto their collapsed form, whereas the dry-rotted boots of the old axle were stretched out and lacked the strength to collapse.
I also identified a tear in the rubber boot of the ball joint (which connects between the wheel hub and the lower control arm, the biggest piece I was replacing). The Subaru is old and it's unlikely that torn ball joint will ever fail in the years it has left, but to give it the best chance possible, I cleaned the tear, slathered gasket compound over it, inserted some fibreglass mesh, and covered the torn boot with a new one made from an inch-and-a-half cross-section of bicycle innertube.
The only other problem that came up was when I went to install the two long 19mm bolts that hold the big rear bushing for the new control arm to the frame of the car. One of the bolts went in great, but one must have entered the threads wrong and developed the dreaded problem of cross-threading (which, according to Mr. Google, is a unusually common with these very bolts). I didn't have a tap available to fix the threads in the big 14mm hole, so for the time being I've put a stack of washers on the 19mm bolt so as not to have to drive it in as far. Meanwhile, a tap is on order, the second specific tap I've had to order to correct threads (the other was a big two inch NPT tap to fix a plug hole on the household fuel oil tank).
Once I had the car all put back together, I lowered it off the blocks it had been on and gingerly took it for a little drive up to Reichel Road and back. Not only did it behave completely normally, but it even seemed that the alignment was correct. {When I let go of the steering wheel, it didn't immediately head for one of the ditches.) So it was looking like yet again I'd managed to pull off another non-trivial automotive repair out in the driveway.
It had been a hot, sunny day, and, in order to preserve my clothes, I'd stripped off my shirt. I hadn't really considered the possibility of sunburn, but by this evening I could feel it on my back all the way down to the upper parts of my buttcheeks.
Late this evening, Gretchen had the idea of watching The Shawshank Redemption, which (for some reason) I'd never actually seen. That's a good movie, though something about it makes it feels like it was made in the 1980s (though it was made in 1994). Thus when moments of incredible violence, profanity, and cruelty happen, they come as a surprise. The viewer thinks, "Wait, did films really do these things before Pulp Fiction?" (Though, of course, Pulp Fiction also came out in 1994.) Furthermore, there's a strange stylized quality to the acting of the supporting characters that makes The Shawshank Redemption seem like parts of it actually were made in the 1940s (and not just, as in its early scenes, depicting the 1940s). While people acted a certain way in 1940s movies, that can't be said to be the way people behaved in the 1940s. This is particularly true of the crowd scenes, where everyone has apparently been directed to be "do stuff." Real crowds aren't that way; there are always people within a crowd who are doing nothing or have their backs to "the camera."

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