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:
   I have an oxygen concentrator
Wednesday, September 6 2023
Early this afternoon, I drove the Forester out to a nearby abandoned stone quarry to get more bluestone to feed my various stone-based projects at the cabin. The car started up nicely, giving me further confidence that the only problem with it had been the old starter.

It was nice not to have any emergency tasks to perform, although the pressure was back on me to work on the garage. I finally got around to doing some work on that in the late afternoon. The subtask for now is to clean off and organize all the stuff that has accumulated atop a large shelf (it's almost a platform) against the garage's back (east) wall. I'd put that shelf there so I could put things like bicycles beneath it and huge objects on top of it. Those objects included rolls of copper sheeting (which I now had a better place for), a five gallon water jug, a broken crash cymbal (to make into a funnel perhaps), and a non-working professional-grade wet saw. But the biggest object up there was a piece of medical equipment I'd dumpster-dived somewhere. It was full of old electronics, electrical valves, tubing, and various high-grade small-diameter bits of plumbing that I thought I would be salvaging some day. But it's been many years now and that device just takes up room. Today I looked it over and began the process of stripping it for parts. I didn't get very far before I finally found a label telling me what kind of device it was (such labels are often not obvious on medical equipment). It was an oxygen concentrator. That seemed to describe a very interesting and useful function, particularly if I ever do more with metallurgy (where oxygen is one of the more expensive consumables). Concentrated oxygen obviously has medical uses, but it is also used to produce flames hot enough to melt steel. Further internet research explained how such devices work: they pressurize atmospheric air and send it through a porous material whose pores are designed to block diatomic nitrogen (which makes up about 78% of the air by volume) while letting through diatomic oxygen (whose molecules are slightly smaller and makes of 21% of the atmosphere). Eventually the material gets clogged with nitrogen molecules and must be flushed, but while that is happening, a second chamber containing the porous material is engaged. The system cycles back and forth between the two chambers, producing a gas that is 92% oxygen (obviously small-molecule gases such as helium are concentrated in the product as well, though monatomic argon — 0.93% of the atmosphere — is actually larger than diatomic oxygen). I plugged the device in and it seemed to be doing something to produce a gas, though it will require further testing to see if it works correctly. Being a medical device, it may have been perfectly good when it was thrown out due to the death of the patient who was using it. In any case, I won't be stripping it for parts until I find out whether or not it works.
At some point today I looked at the photos from the trailcam I'd set up at the Brewster Street rental. The trailcam had been pointing at the rectangular hole (measuring about 18 inches by 24 inches) through the south foundation wall (a hole that I finally blocked on Monday). It had taken many dozens of photos, and at first I couldn't see evidence of anything in them. But then on closer inspection, I could see photos of rats coming and going in the bottom right corner of the hole. They did so every few minutes all day long, sometimes carrying small light-colored objects in their mouths. In most photos there was only one rat visible, though in one I saw two. All the coming and going through the hole in the foundation wall suggested that the holes through the slab might've been excavated from above and were not indications of the rats burrowing up from below. If that's the case, it's possible I trapped one or more rats in their sub-slab tunnels, in which case it's probably not going to end well for them. But it's not like I can tolerate rats in a house I am charging rent for people to live in; most other landlords would hire an exterminator to go all North Korea on the local rodent population.

This evening I made my classic chili, starting with tempeh, mushrooms, and onions and then adding beans and smooshed tomatoes. Gretchen had been swimming at Paula's mountaintop pool after work, so we ate dinner later than usual.
Afterwards, I drove out to Home Depot to pick up a special order I'd placed for five gallons of an acrylic stucco material that I will be using to fill in the gaps in the Durock cladding I am putting on the styrofoam foundation insulation at the cabin. As I was driving home, I suffered from a fairly serious ear ache that seemed to be concentrated in the walls of the ear canal of my right ear. I've had such ear aches periodically through the spring and summer, and they always seem to go away on their own after a half hour or so. Tonight, though, I was forced to take ibuprofen to help with the pain.

Various pictures of rats from the trailcam. These are details, and they're pretty grainy if you zoom in.

A photo of two rats simultaneously.

Me as I was installing the trailcam back on August 29th.

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