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:
   a sixth season of Black Mirror
Friday, June 16 2023

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

It was a workday in the remote workplace, which I conducted from the cabin. My only real accomplishment there was diagnosing and fixing a deployment issue that had been troubling Joe the Lead Developer since last evening. I'd feel better about it were it not for the fact that problem was an Azure DevOps build pipeline to which I'd never properly added a feature (a console.log stripper).
At lunch I walked down to the lake just to check in and see if I could see any wildlife. But the only wildlife I saw were nesting bluefin sunfish. All the nests (circular spots of cleared lake bottom two or three feet in diameter) were occupied by single male fish, though the female who had been doing synchronized swimming with the male in the nest closest to the dock was no longer there. She'd apparently laid her eggs and left them in the care of the male.
While I was at the lake, I dragged the big pieces of still-waterlogged hemock trunk up from the lakeshore to store it in one of the serveral piles of wood scrap in the dock area. Some of this wood will end up fueling a fire in the dockside fire pit, though some of it might have other uses.

Our dubbing of Parker's Flowers as "Parker's Posies," has reminded me of the career of Parker Posey, one of those people who once seemed to be everywhere and then just completely disappeared. Her spastic carefree movements and overall appearance has always reminded me of Sara Poiron (who I was probably aware of first, though Posey's career predates 1995, when I met Sara, by a few years). In the cabin I have the old 4 TB media server hard drive, and it serves as a second-location backup of all the music and movies I've collected since the early 2000s. It also allows me access to a large library of media without having to use the internet. So today as I worked, I also watched the Parker Posey classic The House of Yes. It's not a great movie, but it's a good showcase for all the things that make Parker Posey great, and some of the dialog is cleverly natural in the way it reflects how quick-witted oddballs communicate, especially when they're trying to subtly insult someone in their presence who isn't bright enough to notice (in this case, the character played by Tori Spelling).
At the end of the workday, I made another push at burying the 240 volt cable to the highest part of our driveway (for future use charging the Chevy Bolt in the winter time). Today I managed to extend the buried cable out of a patch of woods I'd been transversing for since last fall and began crossing a section of steep roadway that had been bulldozed but quickly abandoned. Getting out of the woods meant that I no longer had to spend so much effort trying to thread the cable beneath roots, something I do to both minimize the environmental impact of the project and also to better secure the cable underground.
It had been cloudy all day, but later this evening it started to rain.
At some point I fixed myself a dinner of frozen vegan pizza to which I added the too-salty chonks I'd made for the spaghetti on Wednesday evening. In the context of the pizza, these chonks didn't taste salty at all.
I'd drunk a bit too much alcohol tonight, and though I'd initially thought I'd avoided a hangover, later in the day it was clear I had one. Sometimes I abstain from alcohol on hangover days as a form of punishment, but today I drank moderately instead, which is the easiest possible way to deal with a hangover. By late in the day, though, this had me feeling bloated and, strangely, bored. Alcohol is often my solution for boredom-adjacent feelings. But what if those feelings aren't dispelled by drinking? Then there's basically nothing left to do. I ended up eating some lumps of weak cannabis, but that would take awhile to kick in.
As I was surfing all my usual haunts, I stumbled across an article that said Netflix had released a sixth season of Black Mirror (perhaps my favorite television series) yesterday. So I immediately used Bittorrent to slurp up all five episodes onto the server I use for such things. I then began watching the first episode, the one entitled "Joan is Awful." Unfortunately, it was downloading more slowly that I could watch it, meaning that the amount that downloaded while I was watching a chunk of it was less than amount in that chunk. This led to watchable chunks getting shorter and shorter until I'd go do something else for awhile to give it a chance to download.
One of those things I did was replace the bit of copper pipe and compression fittings connecting the ass blaster (aka "bidet hose") to the toilet plumbing. Those fittings had developed a very slow but maddeningly unfixable leak, perhaps due to bends that had developed in the section of soft copper pipe with compression fittings on either end. This evening while waiting for a latter section of "Joan is Awful" to load, I cut a short piece of 0.25 inch OD stainless steel pipe and then meticulously deburred it. I then built used it in place of the soft copper pipe in the ass blaster plumbing, and, to my delight, it didn't leak at all. Since it is unlikely to get bent, it won't develop leaks either.
As for "Joan is Awful," part of the fun was trying to figure out what the hell was going on as bad things started happening to our protagonist, Joan. She's found a dramatization of her life on a Netflix-like streaming service, and so has all her friends. It quickly ruins her life. But why is about her? And why is Salma Hayek playing her in it? During the late-middle section of "Joan is Awful," I started wondering if perhaps Black Mirror had jumped the shark. Salma's acting wasn't just bad, it was also annoying. But then some important exposition happens, and we learn that what we're seeing is just a tiny part of a whole bunch of AI-generated realities, all of which explained why Joan was the only target of the dramatization of her life. There were a few things at the end that didn't make sense, such as how Salma Hayek knew her likeness was being used in the dramatization, but not Annie Murphy (the next level down in a Russian nesting doll of dramatizations). Overall, though, it had all the things that make me love Black Mirror.

The African black-eyed susan near the steps up to the cabin's front door. Click to enlarge.

Hummingbird-friendly dianthus (so someone on Facebook told me) with our Adirondack chairs and stone patio in the background. Click to enlarge.

An orange flower near our cabin, from a wildflower seedpack from the Hudson Valley Seed company. Click to enlarge.

A blue flower near our cabin, from a wildflower seedpack from the Hudson Valley Seed company.

A male bluegill sunfish guarding his nest near the dock.

Native irises in bloom near the dock. They come from plants that look just like cattails until they develop flowers. Click to enlarge.

A view across the lake to Pyotr's boathouse today. Click to enlarge.

A white ash growing right up against a yellow birch. White ashes aren't all killed off by emerald ash borer, as they are back in the Catskills. Click to enlarge.

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