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:
   trends with light fixtures
Saturday, November 30 2019
Gretchen's parents would be driving back to Albany today and then flying back to Washington DC. Before they left, I took them on a short walk down the Stick Trail to my stone wall so they could see it for themselves. Getting them there wasn't easy; Gretchen's mother has had both knee and hip replacements. Hell, even one of her eyes contains a man-made lens, meaning she's basically a cyborg. The joint replacements have left one of her legs shorter than the other, and she has great trouble walking on steps and uneven surfaces. Both her husband and I provided help getting her down the steps on the south end of the house down to the north end of the Stick Trail. We had to go very slowly, because if she had fallen it would've been a disaster. But we managed to get to the stone wall, and my inlaws were suitably impressed. It's obvious when one looks at it that it required a great amount of effort.
When we walked back to the house, we saved ourselves a lot of trouble by entering on the basement level using the sliding doors into their master guestroom.

Gretchen had an unusual Saturday shift at the bookstore today, and while she was off doing that, I had a quick landlording chore to handle. The glass from the ceiling light in the brick mansion's 1L apartment had spontaneously fallen and smashed on the floor. This was how I came to be in the lamp aisle at Lowes trying to find a suitable replacement. The ceiling lamp section had changed a lot since I'd last bought one. Now many of the lamps come with LED matrices built in, meaning there are no sockets or bulbs to replace. That might sound good to some people, but not me. Who is to say we've reached the pinacle of illumination technology and no further progress can be made? If I buy a lamp with a built-in illumination technology, I can never replace that technology without also replacing the fixture. Already I could see a problem with the ones being sold: they weren't bright enough. I wanted the lamp to have a 100-watt-equivalent bulb, but the ones for sale were no more than 75-watt equivalents. There's also the problem of what happens when a lightning surge kills the LED matrix, something I've seen happen. When it's just a bulb to replace, it's a tenant issue. When it's a fixture to replace, it's a landlord issue. Fortunately, there are still some ceiling fixtures for sale that accept bulb-compatible lighting elements. I bought one of those, as well as a couple 100-watt-equivalent bulbs. I also bought a Square-D quick disconnect so I could complete the wiring of the Gunther Room split. The new lamp was easy to install even though I'd forgotten to bring a step-stool. In the frenzy of finishing up, though, I accidentally threw one of the two new 100-watt-equivalent bulbs in the trash. So, after doing some work on the Gunther Room split wiring that made me want to hide all the wire in PVC conduit (which I would have to go to town to buy), I added a detour back to the brick mansion just to retrieve that bulb. Ramona could barely believe her luck in getting to go on two car rides in a single day.
I managed to conceal the outdoor wire in conduit all the way to the quick release, which I mounted the frame holding the outdoor unit. The conduit looked good, but it was only bracketed to the house in one place, so was fairly flimsy. Once I'd finished attaching the boiler-room end of the wire to its circuit breaker, I could close up the circuit breaker box, perhaps never to have to open again for years. Every slot is taken, so if I add more circuits, it will probably be in one of the house's three expansion boxes.

I should mention that the outdoor part of the split installation was made considerably less pleasant than it otherwise would've been due to the fact that I had to keep wading through a slimy puddle comprised of a mix of cat piss, cat shit, and clumping cat litter. Most of the household litter boxes, you see, are in the laundry room, and the nearest door to that opens onto the east deck, directly above where I was running the wire to the split.
When Gretchen got back from the bookstore tonight, she was hungry and it was time for date night. We ended up going to Yum Yum in Uptown Kingston, a restaurant I hadn't been in for four or five years. Gretchen had recently tried it again and found it had both improved and greatly expanded their vegan options (they used to put egg and fish sauce in things seemingly out of spite). I didn't know that I was in the mood for Asian fusion semi-fast casual, but once that Korean taco (with tofu) was in my mouth, I realized we'd come to the right place. Their take on the Impossible Burger was also amazing. The only real disappointment was with the pad thai noodles, but that was only because the other food was so great. "It's nice to have another restaurant we can go to in Uptown," I said. Hell, even my lemongrass-flavored Thai martini was excellent. Interestingly, none of the Yum Yum waitresses were cute (and one of them was morbidly obese), which suggests that they were actually hired for their waiting skills.
Back at the house, the small computer that I've set up as a media player (it runs Kodi) was no longer working. So I opened it up and removed its thumb drive, which it uses as its boot drive. Its possible that, after four or five years, the flash memory on that drive had finally worn out. It took me less than a half hour to download a LibreElec Kodi distribution and install it on a new thumb drive, which was an order of magnitude faster than I expected. The new Kodi has a very flat Windows-10-style design language (which I think is ugly and very 2016), but hopefully it will be less idiosyncratic for Gretchen, who complains that it isn't anywhere as easy to use as Netflix. But where else can she have any movie or television show she wants after an hour or so?
The only mishap in all of this came soon after Kodi had crapped out on its old thumb drive. I came into the laboratory in a whirl of exasperation, and when I went to turn the laboratory split on, the remote flew out of my hands and landed face down on the sharp edges of the media computer's CPU heat sink. This left a series of deep scratches on my formerly-flawless HVAC remote. That might sound like a trivial thing to you, but I always find it depressing when new-looking things get scuffed up, particularly when they are as new as that remote happened to be.

A cardinal today in the trees northwest of the house.

My inlaws at the wall this morning. Click for a wider view.

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