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:
   Panera for an important videoconference
Friday, February 24 2017

location: rural Hurley Township, Ulster County, NY, USA

Though there were still piles of snow around our house, today was so warm that we could open the doors and windows and let in the tropical air that had followed us home. Our house sitter was a moleish woman who always asked "what?" every time I said anything. She didn't seem like a barrel of laughs, but the house was in good shape and all the critters were alive after her week of administration, and that was mostly all that mattered. We hadn't put anything in our notes about watering the plants and she'd somehow been oblivious as a tropical black-eyed susan vine wilted and nearly died completely, though I think I managed to save it today with some much-needed water. Our house sitter left at around the same time I was beginning my workday in the remote workplace.
It wasn't long into my workday that the internet stopped working. I checked the phone to see how serious the problem was and there was no dialtone. If there's no dialtone, there's probably a broken wire somewhere, and it's surprisngly hard for DSL to get to a house over a broken wire. I tried to get tethering to work using the Barnacle Tethering app on my phone, but it was had apparently kludged itself up beyond repair. I managed to join the daily video conference (sort of) but the microphone on my phone stopped working, probably because it was being used by an unknown piece of malware installed by some unscrupulous app to compile material that could be used to blackmail me.
I had an important meeting with my boss Da scheduled for this afternoon, and I needed better connectivity than that. So this afternoon I drove out to Panera, going well out of my way on the way there to stop at the Tibetan Center. There wasn't much there for me except what looked like a high quality micro USB cable, but I also took note of the presence of a Linksys WRT-54GS router. I knew the WRT-54G was famously hackable, but I wasn't sure about the WRT-54GS.
At Panera, I set up in a corner and again got a coffee and that vegetable soup containing a dollop of seemingly parmesan-containing pesto (because I couldn't think of anything they had that was more vegan than that). Later, though, I remembered how I used to get a bagel with hummus and a slice of tomato in even the most vegan-unfriendly of cafés. Unfortunately, though, Panera insists on putting cilantro in their hummus and their bagels are pretty terrible, so perhaps my subconscious was aware of this and that's why it hadn't occurred to me to order such a thing here.
The meeting with Da was my yearly review as an employee, an opportunity for me to get a cost-of-living adjustment had I been working for The Organization for a year, which I hadn't (quite). As part of the process, I'd been asked to fill out a self-appraisal of my various talents (which, for my position, seemed poorly articulated). Da had done the same appraisal (of me), and comparing our scores formed the framework for today's videoconference. Amusingly, I'd given myself consistently lower marks for nearly all the items than Da had. And his scoring, according to the rules, were all that mattered in the end. So when it was all said and done, I had been given an extremely positive review. Not only that, Da informed me that I would be getting a new job title ("Senior Backend Developer") and a nine percent raise. That put a little bounce in my step!

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