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:
   specify your rice
Thursday, May 2 2019
This morning on my walk down to the brownhouse, I heard some muffled carpentry happening in the dead tree where a pileated woodpecker has been making a nest. There are actually two three-inch holes in that tree: the one mentioned yesterday about four feet from the top and facing southwestward and another only a foot from the top facing northeastward. I don't know what all goes into a pileated woodpecker nest, but evidently this one is still a work in progress. Given the limited space available within the tree, the woodpecker couldn't make the sorts of long, decisive pecks that remove wood efficiently. At this point all he or she could do was chisel.

Today was the first comfortably warm day in over a week, so at lunch time I strolled into the center of the Red Hook for lunch. There was still a little drizzle falling in the aftermath of a shower, but I've already written about how nice it is to walk in the rain at time of year. Today I was slightly more in the mood for Chinese food than for burritos, so I walked to the Golden Wok and ordered what had been good last time, the mixed vegetables with garlic sauce. There was only one other customer in there at the time, and, like him, I decided to eat there in the restaurant all by myself.
When the food came out, I immediately saw something was different about the rice in comparison to how it had been last time. Instead of being fluffy and white, it was brownish and contained various impurities. At first these looked to be vegetables, which was fine, but then I saw small chunks of my lifelong nemesis: eggs. Still, they were small and I could psyche my way through them, so I ate nearly all of it without complaint. I even ate the pink shreds of a pig corpse which were in there. The mistake I'd made was failing to specify "white rice" when placing the order, and evidently the default at the Golden Wok in such situations is to make the rice about as vegan-unfriendly as is possible. The reason I just ate it without complaint was that otherwise it would've just been thrown out, and I'm mostly a vegan for ethical and environmental reasons. Still, there is a part of me that is vegan simply for the health benefits; it's nice never having to wonder what my cholesterol levels are. And just knowing there was a tiny amount of dead animal working its way through me put me a bit off my game for the rest of the day, though any actual physical issues I felt were probably psychosomatic. Lesson learned: always specify your rice at the Golden Wok in Red Hook, New York.
My workday was relatively relaxed, since I'd done most of the things left to be done on my Electron App, and Alex, the only guy I report to, said he would be gone until Wednesday (Gretchen later told me his wife is going to the Bahamas, so perhaps that's where he went.) At a certain point, I applied my programming skills to a task unrelated to anything I am doing at work. I'd found a Javascript-based tool online that allowed someone to graphically (and interactively) build characters for LED panels driven by the MaxMatrix Arduino library. Though the source hadn't been provided, it was all easily downloadable from the web, so I'd managed to get it working locally and now wanted to add features. The editor, as found, reminded me of the character editor I'd written in BASIC for the Commodore VIC-20 (using less than three kilobytes!) back when I was a sixteen year old lad, although it lacked a few important tools that editor had, particularly the ability to rotate characters in ninety degree increments. I'd been having difficulty getting this rotation to work using the data structures of the Javascript editor, though in various stages I began to figure things out. To get this working, I gradually realize, it was essential to be able to go back and forth between multi-byte representations in hexadecimal and arrays of integers. Back when I built such functionality for the VIC-20, you see, the data structures were much simpler, allowing me to figure it all out without even needing the (then-nonexistent) Web to find the necessary algorithms.

When I got home tonight, the weather was warm enough for me to resume the medicine cabinet installation project. That's the one where I've been using a heat gun to deform a big fat black three inch ABS pipe to make enough room in the inter-stud space for a medicine cabinet. Doing that sort of work produces enough fumes for me to want lots of ventilation. With this in mind, I threw open the bathroom windows and one of the bedroom windows so I'd have a good cross-breeze going. Since there was no actual wind blowing, I used a fan to increase the air flow.
After first finishing the repair of the tear in the pipe that I'd accidentally made last weekend, I turned my attention to further flattening the pipe. But the going was slow. Unless the plastic was gooey enough to flow (and thus very fragile) it took a lot of force to cause it to collapse. To help with this, I kept going to get various tools, mostly scraps of lumber and big steel splitting wedges. What really helped, though, was when I went and got a very stout steel bar with holes at either ends and used lag bolts to gradually tighten this down upon the heated pipe (It helped that there were beams for a roof-edge at the back of the wall to sink the lag bolts into). This pushed the whole length of the pipe against the back of the inter-stud bay, further flattening it and opening up sufficient room in front. By the time I was done, I'd made enough room for nearly all of the cabinet except for the very topmost part. A little more heat (and perhaps more lag bolt magic) and I'll be able to install that cabinet.

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