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:
   not the drummer for Def Leppard
Wednesday, September 30 2015
After I got out of bed this morning, I took out an umbrella and went outside to behold the flooding caused by the torrential rains that had fallen all last night. By this point, the rain was falling only a little more powerfully than a drizzle, but the effects of all that preceding rain were everywhere. In the greenhouse, flood waters completely submerged the supporting girder holding up the flooring deck, a flood stage I'd never seen since installing that girder two years ago. This meant that the intake of the 4 inch PVC pipe draining the greenhouse was totally submerged, which accounted for the eerie silence despite all that water flowing through. Still, even in these extreme conditions, water levels were still more than four inches below where they would need to be to flood the deck (where I keep things like the jackhammer and other power tools). These flood levels are somewhat less than the way I'd described them to be during the worst of Tropical Storm Irene. This isn't to say the flooding from all the various microwatersheds wasn't impressive. The woods east of the greenhouse was a massive tangle of rivulets that created a complete (though multi-level) water surface punctuated by tree trunks and sticks.
Water was flowing down the Farm Road so powerfully that it had washed several dozen walnut-sized rocks out into Dug Hill Road. Happily, what water found its way to the west edge of our yard was being routed around the house by the berm I'd fortuitously installed in the months before Irene.
Down in the basement, I shouldn't have been surprised to discover there had been flooding, probably through the incompetently-installed electrical conduit to the well. By the time I arrived, the flooding was over and all I could do was mop up what I found. I managed to remove a little over a gallon of water. Happily, most of the carpet that used to be soaked by such floods has been (or soon will be replaced) by vinyl faux wood, which is utterly waterproof. Flood water had managed to find its way under nearly all of the carpet in the closet south of the boiler room, underscoring the need to replace that with vinyl as well. Water had also gotten under the carpet in the small ("Gunther") guestroom, but not very far. If I can just install a drain in the boiler room (and avoid the rebar and, more importantly, the hydronic pipes), I might not have to worry about flood waters ever making it that far again.
The continuous heavy rains had proved such a barrier to our dogs' normal behavior that one of them (almost certainly Eleanor) had taken a shit in Gretchen's library on the beleaguered patch of remaining shag carpet. I cleaned it up without telling Gretchen.

I wanted to be able to drink alcohol today, so to buy that ability, I painted a smallish painting (though, at 6 by 4 inches, it was larger than my usual small paintings of late). In my mind, I had the image of a roughly-rendered horse-headed humanoid along the edge of a dreary background. My pot-bellied horse dude didn't quite fulfill my vision, but I was in a hurry:

It seems that Stewart's has stopped distributing their own store-branded "Mountain Brew Ice," though they continue to stock their store-branded energy drinks in cans of similarly-amateurish graphic design. This was why I was drinking a big celebratory 24 ounce can of Molsen Ice on the drive with the dogs out to Home Depot on 9W. (I'd mostly been boycotting Molsen since they were acquired by Coors.) My principle mission was to get the wood necessary to build a standard six by three foot bookshelf to replace a smallish one in the main basement guestroom. Since this bookshelf will be backed up against a raw masonry wall that might collect moisture on humid summer days, I wanted the back of the new bookshelf to be made from something waterproof. There aren't a lot of options for reasonably-stiff waterproof materials. WonderboardTM might qualify, but it's heavy and crumbly and not the kind of thing one wants to put in a finished space, at least not in its raw form. With that stricken from the list, the only materials remaining are roofing products, though those tend to come in units only two feet in width. This made the three-by-eight-foot sheet of ridged steel roofing the only real choice. It cost $30, but if it does the job of isolating books from a pocket of humidity while stiffening the bookshelf they live on, that will be money well spent.
While in the Home Depot, I went over to the electrical section to get some zip-ties and an LED lightbulb to improve the illumination in Gretchen's library (100-watt equivalents are down to $10/each). While there, I saw a balding man in his 60s with his right arm missing above the elbow. With him was a strikingly-beautiful young woman with a small child. I immediately assumed this must be the drummer from Def Leppard; how else would a guy with a missing arm be in the company of such a creature? On closer inspection, though, his girlfriend looked to be in her teens and was likely the bestumped man's child. The little kid, then, might be his grandchild. [Later I would look up the drummer for Def Leppard and discover he is missing his entire left arm, and he's only 51 years old.]
A swarthy young woman checked me out at the contractor's cashier, where the card reader had changed since I'd last used it. Instead of accepting a swipe, it demanded that I insert my card into a slot so that its internal chip could be read via an array of gold-plated contacts that had never before been used. Evidently the technology is still new and not fully debugged, because my card crashed the terminal and I was forced to try again on a different terminal. This time it worked, but it took significantly longer than it would have had I been allowed to simply swipe the card's magnetic stripe.
As always, I let the dogs rum amok in the parking lot while I carefully tied the lumber and roofing metal down to the Subaru's roof rack. Ramona usually walks up to strangers and solicits love (or concern that she might be stray) but today she didn't like the look of someone and barked at him. I had to tell her not "to be acting like that."
At the ShopRite next door, I bought all soy milk in addition to all the usual staples of my diet (except for peanut butter, which I forgot). The checkout guy had ear piercings that made him look a bit too hip for working in that particular grocery store. But what choice did he have? There is no Trader Joe's in Kingston. He saw my Sontava Belizian habañero sauce and struck up a conversation about sauces and peppers. He said he liked Sontava, but that it was too thick to get out of the bottle. He went on to tell me about the ghost peppers he'd bought at the recent garlic festival up in Saugerties. We both agreed that the problem with most hot sauces is that they contain too much vinegar.

This evening, Susan called and said that there was no power at her and David's house and she wondered how the power situation was at our house. Amazingly, we actually had power (though it might have winked out briefly while I was in town). So Susan and David came over for a dinner of tiny pieces of pizza and cabbage & potato soup, all of which Gretchen made from scratch. Later, we showed Susan and David our new flooring in the basement, though of course things were a little funky-smelling in the aftermath of last night's flood. Before joining Gretchen and Susan for a viewing of The Nightly Show, I showed David the graphing capability of my weatherstation client, which I've been neglecting while I tinker with my clock. This time the graphing worked beautifully. By now, it has accumulated a lot of data and can show gorgeous plots for week-long spans (which have gotten more interesting with the more autumnal weather).

In clock news, today I added the ability to edit date and year settings on the clock itself, though neither of these are normally displayed. All the testing of the button-based UI (which forces me to repeatedly press raw little domed metal switches) has made the tip of my right thumb and index finger sore.

The Chamomile River was raging too much for me to get to my normal firewood-gathering areas, so I didn't gather any today.

For linking purposes this article's URL is:

previous | next