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:
   sometimes you just have to cut a hole
Tuesday, November 19 2019
This morning at work there was a great deal of excitement about the fact that the much-disliked VP of Product Development had been fired after only about seven or eight months. True, the guy looked like a movie villain, but he seemed like the kind of corporate type that latches onto a small company and never leaves. Mostly all I ever saw him doing was talking on his phone out in the front of the building or sweeping up dust bunnies around the office. Supposedly he was famous for organizing long, pointless meetings. I'd been in a few of his meetings, but they never seemed especially pointless. Personally, my only real beef with the guy was what I'd overheard him say to Morning Dave one morning: he'd been very animated as he dismissed the idea of dogs being treated like family instead of possessions by the people with whom they live. (Despite his, he was never mean or even stand-offish to Ramona or Neville, and even commented on a couple occasions about how well-behaved they were.)

When I got home from work today, I immediately resumed work on my laboratory split electrification project. I started with wiring the outdoor unit, running the power supply wire from the basement alongside the hoses and wires in the bundle the installer had arranged, which ran inside a plastic housing for part of its distance. I put the quick-disconnect box just under the top of the railing on the inside, figuring I could use it to gain easy access to a temporary 240 volt AC supply as needed. All that went about as easily as one could expect despite there being some lingering snow on the deck and my having to climb into the cramped space beneath the deck to run my wire. And to hook up the outdoor unit, I actually had to climb a ladder. The ladder I used to do that was the one that had been leaning against the tree that had held that pileated woodpecker nest I'd remotely monitored back in the spring. (I'd put up the ladder soon after the baby had fledged so I could get a look into the nest to see what it had been like.)
The wiring at the other end of the power supply wire, down in the shop, was much more difficult. For starters, I had great difficulty getting fish tape from the unseen far side of ceiling joist over to the hole I'd cut in the ceiling above the circuit breaker box. I ended up pumping nearly 50 feet of fish tape through that hole in the hopes that one of its loops would eventually materialize near where I needed it. But if there were any such loops, I couldn't find them with my hands. Luckily, I was able to snag one of the unseen loops using a hooked piece of flexible copper pipe that I've been using as a stiff alternative to fish tape.
The hardest task of all was trying to get the wire from the top of the wall down into a small rectangle of open wall directly above the circuit breaker. This wouldn't've been hard had the wall not contained insulation and been restricted to narrower than 3.5 inches above the circuit breaker box. After much fruitless poking from above with various makeshift tools, something that only served to compress the insulation towards the bottom of the stud bay, I gave up and drilled out a six-inch-wide circular hole a couple feet above the circuit breaker box. This additional access made the job easy. I'd been making it a point of pride to cut as few holes as possible, but when the task of fishing wire requires more than a token amount of time, it's always easier to just cut a fucking hole, since drywall is easily repaired.
This work had been brutal, tearing and redistributing insulation in ways that will have to be corrected. It had also exposed me to more fibreglass in a way that I knew would be problematic afterwards. It got into my lungs and on my hands and arms. I didn't have enough time left of my evening to take a proper bath, so I took a shower instead and scrubbed myself thoroughly. I also put my shirts directly into the washing machine. This effort paid off pretty well, as I was able to get a good night's sleep (though, it should be noted, I'd also taken a xanax).

Meanwhile, Neville had found an articulated deer leg in the forest, which he was jealously guarding from a beanbag in the teevee room when I came home tonight. (Gretchen and I have taken to referring to this personality as the evil "Mr. Guard" in literary contrast with the benign "Dr. Neville.") We dared not approach Neville when he was in this mode, though even he knew the treasure was making him miserable. He was even growling at the cats, though they were ten feet away and had no interest in the leg. Eventually Neville went downstairs for some reason, and Gretchen seized the opportunity, putting the leg up on a shelf where Neville couldn't reach it. Later I put it out on the laboratory deck, where it wouldn't stink up the house.

The state of the Africa-shaped hematoma under my left thumbnail today, photographed while I was at work (that Homeland Security-branded mousepad is something I got at the Tibetan Center thrift store). The hematoma formed on September 21st after I thwacked it snapping off a tree of heaven sapling at the Brick Mansion on Downs Street. Since then, it's been slowly moving towards the tip after fully detaching from the cuticle.

I bought the usual provisions at the Red Hook Hannaford today and (as I often do) got myself a bag of crunchy snacks for immediate consumption. This Tostitos flavor (Black Bean & Garlic) is actually vegan, which I had to confirm after eating them. They taste very much like Doritos and are a lot better than the only vegan flavor of Dorito, Spicy Sweet Chili.

For linking purposes this article's URL is:

previous | next