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:
   over a hundred gallons wasted
Sunday, December 8 2019
Fairly early today (for a Sunday) Gretchen had to go to the brick mansion on Downs Street to show the attic apartment, which would be needing a new tenant. So it fell to me to walk the dogs. Though it was miserably cold outside, I nevertheless took my firewood hauling backpack and made a loop from the Farm Road over to the Stick Trail so I could gather some of the white ash I'd cut up yesterday. I also wanted to see if I could find my wedding ring, as it hadn't turned up in my left glove. Alas, if the ring was lost in the snow, I couldn't find it. Given that bad outcome and the unhelpfully-moist nature of the wood, I brought back an unusually small load of just four pieces.
I spent most of my afternoon in the basement of the brick mansion attempting to plug the leak in the boiler plumbing. After carrying out 100 gallons of water drained from the leaking zone, I lost count, but I would say I had to remove about 130 gallons before the pipe was empty enough to resolder. I was resoldering a ball valve that was closed, meaning there was water in that same ball valve on the other end of the ball. This didn't seem to be a problem, because I was able to reflow solder into the joint, at least in the places where I was heating it. Once I was satisfied that I'd sealed in the places where it had been leaking, I began pressurizing the pipe. As I did so, I listened for leaks. Not hearing any, I thought I'd fixed the problem.
But it turned out I hadn't. Once the pressure reached about 6psi, a slow dripping of water manifested from the problematic joint. It never ended up spraying, suggesting the leak was now smaller. Still, I'd come to fix a leak, and the leak was not fixed. I was not going to spend another couple hours draining the zone in order to make another try at resoldering it (a try that might or might not work). So I went to Herzog's in hopes of finding some sort of pipe repair that could be done without soldering. The closest thing I could find was some self-bonding silicone tape. Combined with hose clamps (the kind tightened with a screwdriver-driven screw gear), I figured I could stop the leak indefinitely. I wasn't perfectly satisfied with this solution, but I managed to stop the leak and this fix will probably last for years. If one is going to deploy a ghetto repair, exposed pipes in a basement is the place to do it. (I wouldn't want to seal that up in a wall.)
Back at the house, I made another excursion down the Stick Trail, this time carrying just the battery-powered chainsaw and a metal detector. With the latter, I scanned the ground hoping to find my wedding ring. The detector was silent as I scanned one of the places I where I'd strapped down the pieces of firewood, but at another, it kept booping over a spot on the ground. Using a stick and (despite the cold) my bare hands, I dug into the snow hoping to find my ring. I did this for about as long as my hands could bear it, but I never managed to find the ring (or whatever it was triggering the metal detector). But something was clearly there; the metal detector was silent everywhere else I scanned with it (and it's not the sort of thing that your subconscious can manipulate, like a Ouija board or a dowsing rod).
In hopes of salvaging more immediately-burnable wood, I walked about a hundred feet further south on the Stick Trail to where some dry oaks had apparently fallen since I'd last salvaged wood there. It didn't take long to cut about two backpack loads, though I had to go back to the house to get a backpack (and get rid of the saw and metal detector) first.

This evening I drove to R&R, the beer & wine place in Woodstock, to attend a birthday celebration for Sarah the Vegan. The place was busy tonight, probably because the band playing tonight was amazing. I never foiund out what their name was, but they featured a female violinist/vocalist, a drummer (who, Ray tells me, "gets laid a lot"), a male singer/guitarist with a Scottish accent, and a guy who mostly noodled around on an electric guitar. Nancy told me they were described as "the Pogues meet the Replacements," but tonight that had an exclusively alt-country vibe. Initially they reminded me of Calexico, and then they sounded like the SIlver Jews. Later they sounded like the Jayhawks. If they'd had a CD for sale, I would've bought it. What a surprise! Usually when you go somewhere without the idea of hearing music, if there is music it sucks.
As for food, I went with the house preparation of the Beyond Burger, which is served with pickled beets as a condiment. I'm not a fan of beets in any form, but it definitely worked in this context. They also have great hot sauces at R&R. I know Gretchen doesn't much like R&R, thinking there is something fundamentally wrong with its atmosphere, but I can't really think of anything about it that isn't great (though tonight their IPA selection was a little weak).
Meanwhile Ray devoured an enormous serving of nachos, and when he was done with that, he ate most of the nachos someone else had ordered.
I'd been incredibly sleepy earlier in the afternoon and was concerned about getting enough sleep tonight, so at some point between songs (after Sarah had gotten a chance to open the tin-foil-wrapped painting of a cardinal I'd given her and eaten some of the cupcakes Gretchen had made), I said goodbye and drove back home by myself in the Subaru (Gretchen and I had come in separate cars).

Today had been the last day of deer season, and one deer survived that but almost got taken out by my car. I came around a corner and she was standing there in the road in front of me without any intention of moving. I brought the car to a stop, and only then did she turn to see me, startle, and run off in the opposite direction from the one she'd been facing.

Ray tucking into his nachos with the band behind him.

Tonight's nameless band, an unexpected treasure. Dave, the drummer who purportedly gets laid a lot, is wearing the striped hat.

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