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:
   recycling in the wall
Sunday, January 23 2022

location: 800 feet west of Woodworth Lake, Fulton County, NY

It was another bitterly cold morning in the Adirondacks, though the thermometer outside the kitchen window suggested it was in the teens (as opposed to the 18 degree spectrum of possible single digits). Using the tools I'd bought yesterday, I was able to clear a few remaining pieces of ice from the panels and eventually we were collecting as more than 900 watts of power, which was a record.
Last night I'd cut up all the drywall removed from around the new upstairs bathtub and disposed of the pieces in between the now-exposed studs. Putting drywall scraps in stud bays is always a good idea, because it increases a house's thermal mass while also reducing the amount of sound able to penetrate the walls. That's reassuring when you run to the bathroom after a night of binging on Mad Dog and Taco Bell. I'd managed to get drywall between nearly the entire height of all the exposed studs, but there was still a little that hadn't been filled after I'd run out of scrap drywall. So into those places I stacked up a beer cans and beer bottles, partly to trap pockets of air but also as a time capsule for whomever opens these walls in the future. They'll be interested in seeing cans of Hazy Little Thing IPA and Burly Beard Oat Stout from a very specific time in beer history. But I made the mistake of leaving this recycling I was burying visible a little too long, and when Gretchen went to the upstairs bathroom to use the vacuum cleaner, she saw them and was horrified. It offended her eco-sensibilities that I was taking items that could be recycled and trapping them forever uselessly in a wall. If they'd stayed there, she said, it would've made her "sad." Of course, it upset me that she was removing them, because I too had my vision. I'd say I was trying to make "art" (because walling them up activated the same parts of my brain that are activated whenever I'm being creative), except, of course, it was something that nobody I knew would likely ever see, or (more importantly) appreciate. Fortunately, she only noticed the things I was walling up in one of the walls and totally missed the far more numerous cans and bottles in another wall. Before she could ever see those, I installed Wonderboard at heroic speed. The trickiest piece of Wonderboard was the one that would be 31 inches wide by 60 inches tall above the drain end of the tub. I had to cut two holes in that for the faucet hardware and the tub spigot. Fortunately, a couple of masonry bits did the job perfectly. I found that by attaching a big bit loosely in a chuck and letting it careen around in a hole I'd cut in the drywall, it managed to quickly bash out a hole of sufficient size.
We had to leave the cabin earlier than we usually do on a Sunday night because Gretchen had to participate in a poetry reading (we probably could've done it from the cabin, but Gretchen's setup for such things is back in Hurley). So we started our two hour drive home at about 4:30pm, when there was still nearly an hour of daylight remaining. As has been the pattern of late, I'd done the driving to the cabin and Gretchen did the driving back. On this ride it occurred to me that Gretchen is a bit too much of a misanthrope to be good driver. For example, she frequently drives in the left hand lane on the Thruway and doesn't move aside when people accumulate behind her. And she rarely uses turning signals. When people want to get in around her, she rarely brakes to give them room. And a couple months ago I found myself having to tell her dim her high beams for oncoming traffic. All of these behaviors suggest that she doesn't want to do any more than the grudging requirements for other motorists on the road. This is particularly true if they're driving a little douchey or have bumperstickers she disagrees with. For me, this active dislike of other motorists seems exhausting and takes away from what little enjoyment I can get from a drive. For me, we're all out there on the highway together trying to get somewhere, and I enjoy it best when I feel like a part of a superorganism. But Gretchen hates "people" too much to ever feel that way. This is not to say I never feel road rage; I definitely do. But life is easier if you go through it with tolerance for the things that don't actively make your life suck.
We got stuck in a traffic jam near the Ulster Rest Area, and our slow going (20 mph seemed to be the average) continued for three miles. I'd seen some douchey drivers maneuvering around us about a half hour earlier, and wondered if one of them had cut into a pocket that was a little too small. And though Google Maps said the slowdown had been "crashes," there were none in evidence as we passed the place where traffic resumed its normal speed.

The cabin (and our newish Subaru Forester) as they looked today, from the southwest. This is using my phone's wide-angle lens. Click to enlarge.

The cabin as it looked today, from the south. This is using my phone's wide-angle lens. Click to enlarge.

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