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:
   sweat pants without elastic ankles
Monday, January 2 2023
I'd assumed that today was a conventional workday, since we'd already had the day off for New Years on Friday. Sure, we'd gotten two days off for Christmas. But that's the biggest holiday of the year. New Years is an afterthought; you only have to look at the lyrics of "We Wish You a Merry Christmas" to see that. But when I posted a photo of Ramona and Neville together wearing color-appropriate lion manes, Allee responded by saying that if I was working to please stop, that today was a company holiday. From then on, it was as if I'd received a day from God.
Gretchen had to work, but I could focus on some neglected household projects. First there was the matter of taking advantage of the continued balmy conditions to gather more firewood (again from that tree I cut into and let the wind blow down along the Stick Trail). Also, Gretchen wants me to build a little lip around her bedside table to prevent things from continuously falling off it. (That wasn't going to be easy, as the edge of that table is beveled using a large radius; I would have to build a picture-frame-type structure to attach a lip to.) I also happened to go out and look at the large white pine just north of the house, a tree who damage at the base (probably from a bulldozer) is bad enough that I hooked up two cables to keep it from falling on the house or the greenhouse and brownhouse. But one of those cables, the one that prevents the tree from falling eastward onto the greenhouse or brownhouse, recently pulled out of its clamp and thimble and now lies useless on the ground. So it was especially concerning to see that a chunk of living tree had delaminated on the west side of the base from the tree's rotten core. This implied the tree might actually be moving eastward, and that the missing cable needs to be re-rigged to keep the tree upright through the next storm. I wasn't happy with the supplies I had to reattach the cable, so I added those to the list of things I would be buying on my next trip into town.
And then I loaded up the dogs into the Forester (whose back is still flecked with bits of bark from transporting silver maple from Ray & Nancy's place) and went on that trip. My first stop was at the Target, one of the few functioning stores in the Hudson Valley Mall. When I saw the large number of people in there, I put on my handy pandemic mask (a black KN-95 I keep in my jacket pocket). Somewhere between 5 and 10% of the others in the store were also wearing masks. The thing I needed from Target was sweat pants, since most of mine seem to have ended up at the cabin. (At some point in the last fifteen years or so, I transitioned from wearing real trousers at home to exclusively wearing either informal shorts or, in the winter, sweat pants. This seems to have started with me wearing pajama bottoms. I still almost always change into proper trousers before leaving the house.) The problem with mainstream department stores (or whatever it is that Target is) is that most people in America wear XXL and the styles of the kids these days are not necessarily what I would want to wear. I don't want to wear the logos of stupid meaningless brands, and I don't want elastic constraining the size of my ankles. On that last condition, I was out of luck; Target does not sell sweat pants without this "feature." I would've been happiest with bell-bottom sweat pants (the easier to get my massive feet through), but evidently the 2020s is a not a great decade to be looking for those. I ended up settling for some sweat pants that didn't have true elastic ankles (the material itself was elastic!), though the aperature down there was pretty small.
Then I went over to Lowes and bought various hardware suitable for quarter-inch cable. I let the dogs snort around the parking lot before leaving, though they didn't find so much as a chicken bone.

Later this evening, I re-installed the old EcoSmart tankless hot water heater, which was the one I'd experimentally run hydrochloric acid through in order to remove any mineral deposits. I then took a bath to test whether it was outputting sufficient heat. It still failed to heat water going through at the full throttle of the bathtub filler, but if I reduced the flow to something not-trivial, I was able to get a very hot bath. Perhaps I can finesse this heater and not have to replace it.

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