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 rat and a dog chewing on things
Monday, November 27 2023
I woke up feeling even weaker than I had felt last night, but I had enough energy still to at least start a landlording errand. I went out to the Brewster Street rental to investigate another rat incident, one that had come after weeks of zero rat activity. Some rat had somehow gotten into the kitchen and then tried to tunnel out by removing foam protruding out of the wall from where I'd sealed up a rat hole months ago near the refrigerator's electrical outlet. The tell-tale pieces of foam, each the size of a rat's bite, littered the floor near in that part of the kitchen. But that had been a completely doomed effort for the rat, because behind that foam was a pile of rocks completely filling the wall void all the way up to the electrical box. The rat had apparently given up and then maybe returned to the basement without leaving any other evidence. The tenant seemed to think that the rat had come up from the basement through the basement door, which, after the work I'd done to it several weeks ago, now swung freely but no longer latched properly. So my main task today was to get the latch on that door working. This wasn't difficult; I just had to remove the strike plate from the door jam and move it down and out about a quarter inch. I needed to chisel the door jam a little to make this work and didn't have a chisel with me. But the wood was old and lumpy, and I was able to do what I needed to do with a flat screwdriver. Memo to self: add chisels to the tool kits of the two vehicles, as this has come up before.
I'd neglected to bring any rat traps, which I probably should have set in the basement just as a placebo for the tenant, since it's unlikely any rat that avoided being caught by the traps all those weeks when they caught nothing would suddenly get caught in one. I looked in the basement for any possible way for rats to still be getting in from the outside, and I didn't see any. But it's possible I was overlooking something. Clearly a rat had found his or her way into the house, that was clear from the bits of foam chewed off the wall. And perhaps this had been a rat with considerable institutional knowledge of the house. How else would he or she know the location of a former escape route, one that hasn't been usable in months?
I had another landlording chore to do at the Downs Street house, but whatever was wrong with me had grown even wronger, and I thought it best to go straight home. My coughing was happening with some frequency now, and it was clear I was coming down with an illness.
When I got home, I found that Charlotte the Dog had acted out after I'd left her and Neville alone in the house, something that is as predictable at this point as the sunrise. I take measures to mitigate this, such as hiding all the shoes in the entrance closet with the curtain shut. But Charlotte still manages to find things to destroy. She'd actually acted out earlier in the day just after Gretchen left for work, actually getting up on the kitchen island, stealing a bottle of Neville's thyroid medication, chewing it open, and dumping the pills on the floor (maybe she also ate a few of them). The thing she'd destroyed while I was off landlording was a Kobo eBook reader I'd bought for Gretchen so she could read New Yorker articles. It never really worked for her, and the Kobo had languished on the lower shelf of the living room coffee table. But it had cost me something close to $100, and I could've found some use for it. At first I thought maybe the damage was just cosmetic, as Charlotte had focused on one of its corners. But she'd managed to crack the eInk display, the most valuable component, so it was a complete loss. I was able to salvage a lithium battery out of it, and that was it.
That senseless destruction coupled with me worsening health put me in a foul mood. But I nevertheless took the dogs for a short walk up the Farm Road before jumping in the bathtub in hopes of making myself feel better.
By this evening, I was pretty much bedridden. Gretchen made a huge delicious pot of a sort of minestrone soup (with both mushrooms and shell-shaped pasta), and my appetite was still good enough for me to eat two bowls of it.

The Kobo eReader after Charlotte was done chewing on it. I tried powering it up and at that point the blur of digital noise appeared in the lower right of the screen, drawing my attention to the reality that it was cracked and useless.

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