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:
   prison fried rice
Wednesday, May 20 2020
Today I noticed that Powerful had thrown a bunch of topsoil chunks, soil clumps, and other rubbish from his garden plot into the lowlands below the retaining wall above which it sits. I couldn't be mad at him, because how was he to know that the purpose of that retaining wall was to enforce a topographic distinction between what was above it and what lay below it. I picked up all those clumps and plant rubbish and piled them just uphill of the wall, though not far enough from the wall to intrude on Powerful's patch. After I explained how all this was supposed to work and the existence of unseen drainage pipes, he started clearing some of the other garden patches (the garlic patch and the lowlands around it). But he eventually stopped on discovering things that, he later explained to me, seemed like "they had a purpose," one that he couldn't yet hope to understand.
In the late morning, I drove (with the dogs) to Herzogs in Uptown to get a few more supplies for my electric car charging station, which also includes a 120 volt outlet connected to a separate circuit. I needed a GFI outlet for that, as well as an outdoor outlet cover and a few other things. Today I noticed that not only was everyone wearing masks when in the stores, some were wearing them while driving alone in their cars. I'd seen that in the past on occasion, but today I actually saw someone experiencing road rage while masked.
Back at the house, I cheated with the installation of the new 120 volt outlet. Instead of connecting it to an existing circuit or running it to the circuit breaker box, I simply put a plug on the end of it and plugged it into an outlet. Powerful was watching me do these things, surrounded by unfathomable complexity of the boiler room, and he seemed awed if not shocked.
Marker. (I didn't throw it away because I might still use parts of it for some esoteric plumbing need.)


Up on the solar deck today, I dismantled and removed the old ten-foot-long base shaft of the antenna pole (which is something I think I initially salvaged from the abandoned go-cart track). It had been held in place by three brackets attached by big screws into the four-by-four northeast pillar of the deck. As I removed these screws, though, several of them snapped off at the neck. And those which came all the way out had been substantially degraded by fourteen years spent in treated lumber. Their screwtreads, for example, were nearly gone. It was good I'd discovered this situation when I did, because it wouldn't've been many more years before all of those screws would've failed and the antenna pole gone crashing to the ground. When I install the pole's replacement, I will be sure to use screws considered safe for use in treated lumber.

Some weeks ago our HVAC installer (Rycor) had gotten in touch with Rheem, the manufacturer of our heat-pump-powered hot water heater about its inextricable anode. They'd agreed to replace the whole tank free of charge. To limit labor costs when its replacement arrives, today I began the process of decommissioning the old tank. First I had to drain all of the sulfury water out of it. I first drained it down to the height of the bathtub rim in the nearby bathroom and then ran the hose all the way through Gretchen's library and out the screen door of the screened-in porch to drain it nearly completely. Since there was no way to keep it drained and also use the just-in-time electric hot water heater (which is needed when there is insufficient solar energy), I decided to add a ball valve to whichever side of the tank flow missing one. The only half-inch ball valve I could find in my plumbing supplies was a Watts EZ Sweat model, which is a combination of a ball valve and two union fittings. This seemed great in theory, but in practice the valve leaked no matter how tight I tightened the fittings. That must've been the reason I'd never actually used it. Before putting it back in my plumbing supplies, I wrote "DONT USE" on it in Sharpie

Meanwhile Powerful had made dinner. It was vegetable fried rice with tofu, cooked "prison-style" (though I'm not sure what that meant in the context of our modern well-equipped kitchen). It was delicious, though Gretchen thought this might've been a function of how much oil had been used. dinners

This evening I took another bath in the upstairs bathtub, this time using a plastic bag to catch all the water from the dripping shower head and redirecting it down a vinyl hose. This worked great, and I managed to have my first-ever pleasant bath experience in that tub.

Ramona enjoying the sun today after having gone mining for chipmunks.

Powerful eating some of that vegetable-fried-rice. Photo by Gretchen.

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