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:
   small-scale music show
Friday, March 15 2024 I heard a phoebe for the first time this year. Their call is just them announcing the name of their species over and over monotonously. I've taken note of their arrival across many years, and it's usually on March 22nd or 23rd. So it seems this late winter was so mild that they arrived about a week early, which is a large deviation from the norm.
Soon after I heard the phoebe, I walked down to the greenhouse to get hot water from the Japanese hot water pot I'd left running down there (since the cabinet installer was back in our kitchen and I didn't want to get in his way). Along the way to the greenhouse, I was distracted by a gypsy moth eggmass, and as I was scraping it from the trunk of a tree, a garter snake slithered away nearby. This was the first snake sighting of the season.
On this the second (and last) day of having the cabinet installer replace all the doors on the cabinets (as well as all the fronts of the drawers), we hardly worried at all about our dogs bothering him, since he no longer seemed concerned about them and (for that matter) they about him. Today he was noisier than yesterday, making more use of his impact driver and muttering constantly to himself. I also mutter to myself when I'm working on things, though Gretchen said this guy does it more.
It didn't involve much muttering, but today I came up with the database design for my cabin remote-control system. I decided that, to keep things as generic and expandable as possible, I would keep a table of device prototypes ("device_type") as well as a table of specific devices ("device") as well as device prototype features and specific device features. This would allow me to use a web-based tool to create new devices and specify what the functions of their pins are. Hopefully then all I need to do to implement the functionality saved in the database is to set the right values in the Arduino code for a devices and then wire the corresponding pins to the things being controlled (which will mostly be relays).

Our friend Fern came over late this afternoon just as the cabinet installer was finishing up. She and Gretchen went on a walk with the dogs, and by the time they got back, the installer was gone. It was then that Gretchen discovered that one of the cabinet doors had a noticeable warp in it, meaning the center of its four corners did not occupy a plane. She immediately sent a message to the cabinet installer headquarters (who, by this point, must be so sick of her) and they sent the installer back to our house. He arrived while we were hanging out drinking tea in the living room in front of a barely-necessary fire (though one of the things it was doing was incinerating a bunch of gypsy moth eggs). At first the installer thought he might be able to fix the problem by adjusting the hinge, which seemed unlikely if the door was warped. But when that failed, he decided to take the door with him for the weekend. It seems he has some way to make warped doors flatten out.
I don't know if today was Fern's birthday or what, but it was the day Gretchen decided to celebrate it. She had given her cupcakes earlier in the week, and the plan for today was to take her out to dinner at Ollie's, the pizza place in High Falls that makes especially good vegan pizza. We convoyed to High Falls with Gretchen and Fern going in her truck and just me in the Chevy Bolt. Ollie's has a policy of no reservations for parties smaller than five, so when we arrived, we were told we had a 20 minute wait. But if we wanted to eat outside, we could do that immediately. The weather was just about nice enough for that, and there were also propane heaters that could be turned on for us. So we ended up doing that. Gretchen ordered the fried broccoli rabe, the salad, and a grandma's pizza (the thick-dough rectangular kind) with carmelized onions, mushrooms, and chili sauce on the half that Fern and I would be concentrated on. I also ordered the West Kill Brewing Kaaterskill IPA, which was pretty good.
As we ate, there were a couple little kids of toddler and toddler-adjacent age running around in the outdoor area being mildly supervised from afar by not-particularly-helicoptery parents. There was a sign posted prominently in the outdoor area saying that children were to be closely supervised and that there was to be no running or throwing of rocks. The outdoor area's ground cover was a kind of large-grain gravel, with each stone about the size of a Brazil nut, and something about those rocks made the kids instinctively stoop down to pick them up. And once they had stones in their hands, the temptation was to throw them. I don't know why any parent would tolerate their kids throwing such things in a public space, but the fact that the sign exists suggests that there are parents who see nothing wrong with their kids throwing rocks in public.
Matters we discussed over our pizza included the inevitability of factions forming in any group, no matter how small or idealistic. Fern says that her boyfriend Josh is now dealing with a guy in Rome, Italy, who is trying to sabotage Josh's career as a teacher of an obscure martial art. This led into a discussion of the crazy people in the animal rights movement, including the management of the two local farmed animal rescues and the kooky leadership at Mercy For Animals when I was their senior backend software developer.
Later Gretchen asked what projects I was working on (which was a little strange, since Fern was there and she hadn't asked when it was just us). I told her that my exciting project right now is a system allowing me to remotely control functions at the cabin. Gretchen asked how that would possibly work, and asked if she really wanted to know. She said she did, so I explained that I would have registers set up on a server that I could changed the values of with a web page. I'd then have a device at the cabin polling that server to see if those values had changed. If they had, it would know to send a signal to a relay to turn something on or off.

Next on the agenda was something Fern knew about somehow, a music show happening just at somebody's house in Kingston. Back maybe 15 years ago when we were Fern's age, we used to go to things like this, though they were usually art openings instead of small-scale music events. To get there, again we had to drive separately, and again I was alone in the Bolt. Initially I defied the directions Google suggested by driving through Rosendale out to Route 32 and then going north. After that, though, I followed the directions exactly. They took me to Abeel St. via Dewitt Mills Road but then had me turn northeastward on Hudson Street and then to Montrepose Avenue, in a hilly neighborhood I'd never been through before. The house was on Hasbrouck Avenue. It was a big beautiful Victorian house on a corner, but it was just somebody's house. I felt a little weird marching up there myself, past the people congregating loudly on the porch, since I was clearly going to be the oldest person there. So I waited for Fern and Gretchen to arrive, which happened within a couple minutes. With Fern and Gretchen, I felt much more at ease. Soon we were in the house's living room petting Emma, a very friendly dog with an unusual color pattern (she had both eyeliner and earliner). Meanwhile Gretchen was talking to the female half of the youngish couple whose house it was. Gretchen later told me that the woman said she and her significant other had been living there for two years and that the neighborhood had "changed a lot" (she meant "gentrified") in the past two years. To Gretchen, of course, that sounded funny. We'd thought it changed a lot even before the covid pandemic, but it had changed especially during covid. All of that change, though, had already happpened by two years ago.
The gathering was being handled a little like an art opening. There was a spread of things to nibble on as well as a good collection of beverages, including hard liquor. I helped myself to a modest amount of the boxed red wine and resumed getting licked in the face by Emma the Dog. Meanwhile, others started filing in, some with very distinctive looks. There was a guy, for example, who wore mostly black and black combat boots who didn't look like he quite matched the scene for the music we would be seeing performed tonight, which I would later characterize as "alt-retro-country." Eventually the male half of the couple whose house it was warmed us up by performing a song whose lyrics he had on a piece of paper in his lap. It was kind of uninspired, but it was his house. Then a singer/guitarist named Marty Bush took the stage, and wow, he had an amazing voice. It was deep and extremely flexible, and he took advantage of it to make interesting sound patterns with the lyrics. To me, those lyrics were less important than those strange sounds he was producing.
At some point in the performance, I took an interest in the look of the men who were present. Every one of them, including Marty Bush, had the same look: a forward-pointing baseball cap and a bushy beard. Most of them were also wearing glasses. Over to my left, four or five men were sitting in a row, and they all were crossing their legs in the same way. It was in a way that no manspreading bro would ever sit, since they'd be worried about being mistaken for effeminate. But today's Millennial alt-retro-country enthusiasts are evidently comfortable with their gender.
After Marty Bush was finished, we were feeling too tired to hang out for the next act, so we dropped a $20 bill in the collection vase and Gretchen and I and Fern went our separate ways home.

Emma the Dog. Click to enlarge.

Those hipsters I was talking about. The picture I took with my phone was very dark, so I cranked up the contrast. Click to enlarge.

Marty Bush with some of the hipster ladies watching from the doorway to the next room. Click to enlarge.

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