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:
   more elegant hinge than expected
Monday, February 27 2017
During my long Monday-style workday, I took occasional breaks to fabricate a pet door to fit the hole I'd cut in the primary hallway door into Gretchen's library. Using the table saw, I made a perfectly-rectangular 3/4 plank measuring about 12.5 inches long and 8.5 inches wide. My original idea for hanging it would've involves some sort of metal hinges attached at the top. But the problem with such a hinge is that knuckles couldn't have any material around them to work effectively, particularly for the range of motion required by a two-way pet door. This would mean that there would be a large air gap at the top of the door. So I decided to hinge the door the way our main pet door and also the one on the greenhouse are hinged. Both those doors hang on a metal rod that runs through the door near its top edge. The door can swivel forward or backwards on this rod for at least 180 degrees, and when the door is at rest, the hole is almost entirely blocked. Unfortunately, the plank I was using was slightly warped and I didn't have a good way to accurately drill a nine-inch-long hold parallel to its top edge. So instead I installed a pair of large decking screws at either edge near the top to form what was functionally equivalent to a single rod. I also made the top edge of the door so that it tapered to a ridge, which would keep the corners from running into the top edge of the hole when the door swiveled.
For hanging the door, my initial plan was to cut two slots on either side of the pet doorway hole half-way into the surrounding door, insert the pet door on its rods into the slots, and then devise some way to close up the slots. But then I realized I could just drill a hole for one of the rods, meaning I only had one slot to make (using the oscillating tool, of course). To secure the rod in that slot, I fabricated a piece of bent steel with a hole for the rod on one end and a hole for a securing screw on the other. This piece of metal sat in mortised-out slot and the whole thing was so small as to be almost unnoticeable. It ended up being much more elegant than I expected.

The pet door, when finished.

A close up of how the notched end of the door-hinge was secured. This is the only visible part of the hinge system.

Meanwhile in the remote workplace, the email server was sending out email at a quarter of its normal rate, and none of us could figure out why. Dan had done a code deployment since it had last been functioning correctly, so I had that rolled back, but still the problem persisted. It was a mystery, and it occupied a fair amount of my brainspace, particularly once that pet door was hung. It was possible that the problem was email-specific (some emails take more time to compile than others), though I had my doubts.
And through it all, I was dependent (as I had been since Friday) on my smartphone for internet access. Verizon was supposed to send somebody out to fix the phone line, but they never did. When I finally got around to calling those assholes, I got a pre-recorded message saying, "I notice we recently fixed a problem with your line. Sorry to hear you're having problems again." Irate, I finally managed to talk to a human (as opposed to a menu system), and I told that person in great detail what I had done to report the problem back on Friday. I'd gone through the menu system (which tried to scare me away by telling me that, because I wasn't paying for some additional service plan, I might be charged from problems inside my house) and managed to arrange a visit from a technician on Monday. I'd then immediately called back and done what I needed to to talk to a human to stress that the problem almost certainly was not my house but was a neighborhood-wide issue. And now today the technician was telling me that when they'd come out to fix my problem they'd learned it was a multi-house problem, the very thing I'd tried to stress on Friday. "I'm not paying for this DSL I'm not getting!" I said at one point, and the technician said that no, I would only be billed for days when I had service. She then assured me that my internet would be on by the end of the day tomorrow. Jesus fucking Christ!
Susan and David came over this evening for finger food and dinner. Gretchen had baked a delicious loaf of rye bread and made a pan containing a weird-tasting polenta bake (it wasn't her best work, though David seemed to love it).
Prime on tonight's agenda was showing Susan and David Gretchen's basement library, which was now mostly complete. We did this out of pride but also because it demonstrated how quickly a renovation can proceed if one just makes decisions and buckles down and does the work. By contrast, Susan and David have been fucking with their basement master bedroom suite for two years and it still isn't done.
Topics of conversation included how we're mentally coping with the horrors of the Trump regime. Susan and David said they'd made a conscious decision to unplug from it for a bit and that they rarely discuss Trump these days. But here we all were talking about it. For her part, Gretchen says she takes comfort in the strong and widespread reaction against the regime. She talked about a service she uses that makes harassing legislators super easy; she calls a number, they ask for her zip code, the tell her what to say, and immediately patch her through to whoever needs to hear her message. Often times she gets a busy signal, meaning there are a lot of others like her.
In front of the fire after dinner, there was a long riff between us all on the subject of human centipedes (inspired, of course, by the movie The Human Centipede and all the cultural artifacts related to it (including a South Park episode and a hilarious Key & Peele skit. David says that the guy who directed the original movie only managed to raise funds for it by claiming it was a rather different from what it ended up being. Supposedly the investors were initially pissed when they saw what their funds had paid for, though they eventually came around when the movie proved profitable.

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