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:
   makeshift reservoir
Wednesday, February 20 2019

location: Casa Trogon, Agua Vista Lodging, Montezuma, Nicoya Peninsula, Costa Rica

When it came time for the maid to clean our casita, I'd already moved the chaise lounge well into the jungle so I could have a respite from the depressing fragrance of the soap used to clean the tiles. But Gretchen had a better idea: why not drive into Montezuma for lunch? I could bring my laptop and even do some work there. Initially we thought maybe we'd go to Sano Banano, but then Gretchen thought maybe we should try a restaurant called Puggo's instead. It's out of the center of town, right beside where the Montezuma River empties into the Gulf of Nicoya, and supposedly it is run by some Isrælis, which accounts for why it has things like falafel and hummus on the menu. The road heading west out of Montezuma has been intermittently closed of late, but this afternoon we lucked out and it was open, so we could drive right to the door.
Puggo's has an open-air indoors with seating all along an overlook of the lower Montezuma River, so that was where we set up, not far from where one of the receptionists for Gretchen's language school (she's a young gringa) was doing some sort of paperwork. I was soon testing some perplexing behavior coming from Python's Itertools class. The islice method had unusual behavior. Little did I know that the problem was that it was providing a 0 default for the beginning of the slice when only one integer slice parameter was provided. This is very different from the usual behavior of a slicing method, which usually defaults values for the end of the slice in such a situation. And no, I do not digress.
I ordered the veggie burger, which was a huge sandwich built around a surprisingly good patty made of lentils and other things, all fried with lots of oil. The burger came with fries, and they tasted better than they looked (they looked like they might've recently been frozen). For her part, Gretchen ordered the falafel & hummus plate but found she preferred little chunks of my burger to the falafel, which was fine with me because that falafel was fucking delicious, particularly when dipped in the hummus and pool of fried onions in the very center of that hummus. I also drank a beer, an Imperial of course.
As we were eating, Gretchen got an update from one of the electricians she had contacted to looked into the Brewster House electrical anomalies. It turned out the problem was a badly corroded main breaker valve, which would have to be replaced. This would require Central Hudson to remove the meter briefly during the replacement, as there was no other way to turn off power upstream from the one thing that turns off all household power. I was happy with this diagnosis, since it fit all the evidence in the case (in that sliver of the decision tree where half the household power isn't working and yet Central Hudson reports no problems with the upstream wiring).
After lunch, Gretchen and I hiked a little ways up the Montezuma River gorge just to dip in the water. But then Gretchen got skeeved out about the foam forming in the pool we'd selected (which was at the base of a minor waterfall). So we walked upstream a 150 feet or so and soaked in a smaller natural pool. I noticed that people had used concrete and stone in various places to increase the size of some of the pools, though one of the deeper, more out-of-the-way pools were drained by some fat plastic pipes. Though only a few hundred gallons in size, it was evidently a makeshift reservoir for someone's gravity-fed plumbing system. That water would be good for lots of things, but not drinking. The plastic pipes weren't in great shape and had sprung lots of little leaks along their length, and these could be seen spraying water with various levels of enthusiasm.
There were a few other humans in the lower gorge with us, but it wasn't crowded. Most of the others appeared to be gringos.
After we'd had enough of the water, Gretchen went off to class and I drove home to the casita.
As I further isolated the nature of my islice problems (the problem was actually migrating that Python functionality to Javascript), I found I was being tormented by a species of wasp that had decided that my dead skin was a good thing to harvest. My feet have been shedding plenty of dead skin of late; I can peel off pieces as big as quarter. The problem with this wasp is that she tends to get excited by all the skin and then bites a bit too deeply, which is not a pleasant feeling. I try to be nice, but I can't take it. So I shoo the wasp away or wrap my feet in a towel. This evening at some point that wasp drove me into the bedroom, where, for whatever reason, the wasp is reluctant to go (though it is completely open to the air).
That wasp wasn't the evening's only annoyance. To properly test the application I was building as well as the one I was copying, I had to periodically restore the database (a Microsoft SQL database) back to some known condition. The problem is that it's a crap shoot whether or not this will succeed when doing it from SSMS (SQL Server Management Studio). Sometimes it just hangs for minutes at a time, the perfect excuse to watch a YouTube video instead when one is working on a project as dull as this one. I don't know why this is so hard to get right; in the world of MySQL, all of this stuff can be done instantly, from the command line, and if there is an error message, one can actually copy it and paste it into a Slack window.

Meanwhile Gretchen had met her Spanish teacher Andy and his girlfriend for beers somewhere. When Gretchen returned to the casita, it was only a little after 7:00pm, but I was already fast asleep.

The wasp that likes to eat dead skin.

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