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:
   profligate use of poison
Tuesday, September 26 2023
Today while I was cleaning out the garage, finding a better place for the ice-melt salt (so it wouldn't collect water and leave a salty corrosive damp spot on the floor), I discovered some long thick cable (aka "wire rope") I'd bought for some purpose, probably an elaborate and unrealistic firewood conveying system. But it turns out that I now have a practical use for such cable. I need a better system for dragging the floating dock ashore before winter, one that will involve a pulley mounted high on a tree so the dock will be pulled ashore (probably by a motorized winch for safety) at a high angle and avoid digging into the muck. Such a system requires a long piece of thick cable, which I would've had to buy had I not made today's discovery.
That discovery made me want to go get more supplies for the dock stowing project. Neville came with me on this outing, though for whatever reason Ramona couldn't motivate herself to get out of bed. I drove out to the Lowes and started out in the pest control aisle, looking for a humane mouse trap. It's always depressing to visit the lawn care or pest control ailse of such stores, as the dominant solutions offered always involve profligate use of poison to cure the symptoms of underlying problems that should be addressed instead (such as water intrusion, a porous household envelope, poor fencing, or deep (and perhaps willful) ignorance of how basic ecology works. Perhaps not surprising, at first it looked like Lowes doesn't even sell humane traps. Their big emphasis for solving mice problems was glue traps, which, from my understanding, are engineered to cause maximum suffering to the mice being eliminated. After standing there staring at the grim collection of products for a long time, I eventually did find a live-capture mouse trap that seemed similar to the small plastic ones that had worked (well, just barely) for catching deer mice at the cabin. The traps I'd been using there seemed like maybe they were too short, and mice were able weren't that far into them when they triggered, giving the mouse a chance to escape. The live capture traps being sold at Lowes at a longer "throat," which suggested they would be more effective. So I bought one of those, along with some cable rigging hardware, a stout pulley, and a big bottle of Gorilla Glue (which cost more than $20!). Next I went to the 9W Hannaford to buy tostadas (which I didn't think they had), salsa, and beer. As I often do, I ended my outing with a visit to the Tibetan Center thrift store, which had recently decided to shrink its space, erecting a new wall back in the part I usually check out. The result was a chaos of things spilling out into the sheds. The only things of real interest there were old scientific calculators, and that's only because of my particular nostalgia.

Back home in Hurley, I finished a painting of a deer mouse I'd started this morning. Then at some point I learned that I hadn't gotten that job at the consultancy, the one where I had the terrible technical interview that I'd somehow passed. Evidently that technical interview played a role in their decision not to hire me. (So why did they bother with the final interview? These are mysteries I will never have answers for.) [REDACTED]

Later this afternoon, I mowed the lawn for the first time in months. I also used the GreenWorks hedge trimmer to tame the hydrangeas and whatever cultivar evergreen bush is growing in front of our house. Have I mentioned before how much I hate the GreenWorks brand? For a product trying so hard to "greenwash" itself, it sure forces people into anti-green behaviors, such as requiring them to run different battery chargers for different products using the same voltage. (By contrast, 18v Ryobi products, which are also made of molded green plastic, use interchangeable batteries and chargers.) Not only that, GreenWorks products are notoriously unreliable; I'm forced to bang the hedge trimmer against the ground to make it work, since its connections are like those inside an old Eveready flashlight. (More like Neveready.)

At 6:15pm I had a short 15 minute screening interview for an ArcGIS-type job. The interview went well, though I'm pretty sure working full-time in ArcGIS would only bring me tears.
Gretchen was doing her prison teaching jobs today, so when I went to Alana's birthday party over at Jeff & Alana's place, I went alone. Eventually Ray and Nancy joined me there, and we stood around chatting in the kitchen. Jeff had a beautiful scaled-down modular analog synthesizer set up near the dining room that some of us tinkered with to make neeearow-woo type noises. And then Jeff's wacky friend Peter arrived and wanted to talk about the husband of one of Gretchen's bosses at the bookstore. That husband has been trying to become town supervisor in Woodstock but has been running into resistance from the local Democratic machine, which has dug up all kinds of dirt on him. Peter believes all of this dirt is legitimate and that the guy was, for example,c directly responsible for the deaths of numerous pro-democracy activists in Honduras. I nodded my head along with what he was saying while remaining as noncomittal as I could. Obviously if the husband of Gretchen's boss was responsible for the death of people in Honduras, he's not a great guy. But it smelled a little like the kind of political smear that is inevitable in hard-fought campaigns.
Eventually Gretchen arrived, telling me I had to sober up before I could drive home. So I only had a little more wine before hanging out with the stragglers at the fire pit as we discussed such things as painless forms of suicide, which death cap mushrooms are definitely not. This was how we learned that Peter's sister had committed suicide by jumping off the George Washington Bridge back in 1968 (when she was already 21 years old).

Gretchen was still concerned about my level of intoxication on the drive home, so she convoyed behind me just in case (though I'm not sure what good that did me).

The pest control aisle at Lowes. Notice the stupid "snake repellant"! Evidently people are so freaked out about snakes that they spritz their yards with such dubious materials (and the snakes depicted on the packaging are harmless garter snakes). Click to enlarge.

Today's deer mouse painting.

A tiny tree frog at Alana's party. This guy was only about the size of a dime.

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