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:
   like a goatse joke
Thursday, February 28 2019
Today Gretchen had plans that required the use of a car, though she'd tried to use the Subaru yesterday and had found it hopelessly trapped in a large mass of ice. So this morning I thought I'd try my hand at extricating it. To break up the mound of ice directly behind the Subaru, I used the ice chopper (it's a rod with a flattened spade at its tip that Gretchen had already had when I moved in with her in Brooklyn). But I was going to need to do more than that, because when I then tried to move the car, it couldn't go more than an inch or two in either direction. All four of its wheels were trapped in wells in the ice surface, and not even the Subaru's all-wheel-drive (AWD) had the traction to lift it out of that low energy state. I then tried wedging pieces of wood under the tires in hopes these might act as ramps up out of the wells, but the tires couldn't find enough purchase on them. So then I cut a piece of quarter-inch particleboard into four or five inch strips. But when the tires found purchase on those, it just dragged them through the well and spit them out on the other side. This was turning into a bigger job than expected, so I gave up and drove to work. If Gretchen really needed the car, I could come home early and work the rest of the day from home.
For lunch today, I returned to Bubby's in Red Hook for the first time in over a month. I enjoyed yesterday's 1980s-style burrito at Cancun, but Bubby's still makes the best vegan burrito in the Hudson Valley.

The first order of business when I got home was to continue my attempts to liberate the Subaru from its icy trap. I used a bottle jack to raise up the entire back of the car (I placed it underneath a very robust after-market hitch). This allowed me to wedge some wood deeper beneath the rear tires, though I wasn't too delighted with what I was able to do. The car still refused to come up out of the wheel wells, though it was doing better than it had been. I found that by letting the car get as high as it could and then, after it slid back down and went up the other side of the holes, I would give it a burst of gas, and if I timed this right, the amplitude of the how high I could got at the peak of each cycle slowly increased. Gretchen came out at several times because she didn't like the sounds I was making with the car and wanted to offer advice. She thought perhaps wood wasn't an ideal hole filler because it was too slippery. You can imagine what I thought of these helpful observations. But I was making progress. At some point I realized the car was stopped some distance up the sides of the wells, so I slid rocks beneath the tires where I could, and this apparently made the wells shallow enough, and I was able to grudging drive out of the ice trap. Hooray! We had two cars once more.

This evening we had a Mercy For Animals alumni diaspora happy hour, the first one in months, and the turnout was impressive. In attendance were the usuals (Allison, Dan, Cameron, and me), though we were also joined by Nicole and Brittany. The big news in the diaspora was that Nicole had handed in her resignation, which will be effective March 8th. The stress of working in such a cruel, demanding, and manipulative workplace was just too much and she needed to have some peace in her life. She didn't even have her next job lined up yet.
Other former workplace news included tales of a reorganization that had scattered the ponderously-named Optimization Department to the winds. Due to a 2 million dollar fundraising shortfall, there were also layoffs and even a couple minor demotions. Who got the demotions? According to Nicole, it was just her and Cameron. From the sound of things, Mercy For Animals doesn't sound like it has improved whatsoever under its new president. It's the same old pit of Machiavellians all stabbing each other in the back. Arguably Matt Rice's single worst decision lives on in the form of its Director of Development, who somehow retains her job despite the disaster of 2018's fundraising.
One other bit of news is that, after a long drawn-out process, Mercy For Animals now has a brand new logo and color scheme. Though a design firm had done some of the work pro-bono, the logo had cost "in the six figures" (according to someone familiar with the process) as well as many hours to paste the new logo into the website and other places. What did Mercy For Animals get for their money? You be the judge.

old logo:

new logo:

To my eye, the old logo looked like it belonged to a serious organization that was nevertheless friendly and accessible. True, with the swoopy pictures of animals, the logo wasn't something a child could draw from memory (which is now a well-understood design goal for both logos and flags). But that part could've been eliminated or replaced with something more abstract. The new design looks like it belongs to a joyless sociopathic corporation (with, of course, trappings of North Korea), which is what Mercy For Animals has been aspiring to be for a couple years now. I don't see how the money spent on the new logo and branding will help the cause, but I might be missing something. It's possible the donations will soar now that the organization looks as soulless as the people (and corporations; they're people too!) with any money available to donate. But I have my doubts.
To us in the MFA diaspora, the new logo looks like some sort of goatse joke played on MFA's founder and current administration, one or more of whom might have been too addled from ayahuasca to see it. Oh well, MFA's golden age has been over for some time. They're in the "Love In An Elevator" phase of Aerosmith's career. [REDACTED]

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