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:
   shout what little information they do convey
Sunday, January 15 2023
After the usual Sunday morning routine, I went and gathered more of some of that wood I'd processed yesterday south of the Chamomile. Later, just before the sun started setting, I would cut up some more of that large skeletonized chestnut oak that fell not far from the house west of the Farm Road and bring a few pieces home.
But before doing that second firewood salvaging task, I drove into Kingston to do a landlording chore at the Wall Street house. The drain under the kitchen sink was leaking. I didn't know exactly what I would need to fix the problem, so I first just wanted to look at the drain system. The leak seemed to be coming from somewhere in the trap, all of which was made of brass. I measured it with a pair of cheap digital calipers I'd recently bought and found that the pipe was 1.5 inches on the outside diameter. So I drove to Herzogs and got a plastic version of that trap. But back at the Wall Street house, I soon discovered that part of the brass infrastructure I was wanting to replace was secured with a huge brass nut that I'd brought no tools big enough to turn. This sent me driving all the way home to Hurley Mountain to get a pipe wrench. But even with such a wrench, the brass nut (which seemed to be attached to a drain pipe made of galavanized steel) could not be turned. I then looked at it more carefully and realized the brass pipe and brass nut had been soldered together. I don't know if this was a common plumbing technique 70 years ago, but it's not what a plumber would do today. I ended up having to saw off the bad parts of the brass pipe and couple the new plastic trap pipe to the ancient brass pipe using a slip connector. But even doing this required a second trip to Herzog's to get a pipe extender. What I'd thought would be a ten minute job ended up taking more than two hours.
Before driving back home, I stopped by Home Depot to pick up a new tankless hot water heater to replace the janky old one I'd experimentally tried to revive with a hydrochloric acid flush (which doesn't seem to have worked). Home Depot has a new pickup system involving lockers outside the front door. The shit you order is put in the locker and then you're given a code to unlock it, which you can do without the intervention of any staff. I'd never used this system before, so the helpful woman at customer service took me out to the lockers to show me the robotic storage units sent to replace her.
Next I stopped at the Tibetan Center thrift store, specifically to get an old television wall mount from the days of bulky CRTs. To hold those, the mount had to provide a fairly large surface. I'm thinking I could use such a device to hang a 3D printer from one of the two oak pillars in the laboratory. The cranky old woman who as the cashier tonight at the Tibetan Center thrift store didn't know what to charge me and suggested $10 (which was about ten times what Rob would've said). But I've gotten so many good deals there I said, "okay."

Tonight Gretchen made an elaborate pappardelle pasta dish with a cream sauce, mushrooms, and cauliflower. But the cream sauce had a somewht off-putting chemical taste I'd tasted before in other vegan cream sauces. Gretchen seemed to be tasting it too, and she made a comment about it, saying that it's characteristic of soy milk and that she'll never be making a cream sauce with soy milk again. As a side protein, there was also tofu, which Gretchen had cooked in a waffle iron. She'd gotten some of these ideas from a cookbook.

I've had trouble getting my SD card reader to work, and some of the problem with it seemed to be the USB hub it was attached to. It's a fairly old USB 2.0 hub with ten type-A USB connectors on it, and it's screwed to the drywall behind my top left monitor. The other day I took delivery of its replacement, a ten-connector USB 3.0 hub. When I fired it up as a test this evening, I was horrified to discover that next to every one of its USB A connectors was a blinding red LED. They were there for no reason other than to show that the whole thing was on or off. I've pretty much had it with LEDs in devices that do not convey useful information (or shout what little information they do convey). So I wanted to remove those LEDs. Unfortunately, I couldn't figure out how to remove the USB hub's board from its box, and all I could get to the board's underside. The LEDs were all through-hole devices, and all I could see was where the pins poked through. Fortunately, though, the limiting resistors for each of the LEDs was a tiny surface-mount device on the side of the board I had access to. All I had to do was fire up a small soldering iron and scootch all of those off their tiny solder pads. (I could've put blobs of paint over the LEDs, something I've done in the past, but then I'm still paying for the power they needlessly consume.)

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