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:
   never RS-485 success
Saturday, May 25 2024

location: rural Hurley Township, Ulster County, NY

Gretchen didn't want to get when our guests started waking up, so it was my job to see that they got what they needed this morning. Initially it was just Christine, who doesn't drink coffee but does take her tea with oat milk. I also heated up some baked goods that were probably far too fine to be wasted on the crude palettes of our guests. Eventually Andrew came up from the basement and cracked open his one sugar-free Monster energy drink he'd put in the refrigerator. I told him that energy drinks were an occasional "guilty pleasure" I indulge when in a gas station, the unspoken part being that I would never crack open an energy drink at someone's house, since it's not a good look. Eventually Gretchen got up and realized I hadn't heated up the pan of brioche, though of course there was no way our guests had the experience to know how amazing that was. Eventually we went out on the east deck to each separately play the New York Times Spelling Bee. They don't have the New York Times memberships, so I showed them the version I developed that allows anyone to play the day's complete game without any sort of membership. Eventually, though, we were driven back indoors by the many flies. (They weren't biting flies, but there were so many of them that it became impossible to endure.) Gretchen was the last to leave, as she seemed to prefer the sunlight tempered with flies to our indoors tempered with our guests.
Awhile later, Gretchen started watering plants out on the east deck and said something about how we needed to water the main garden as well "before it gets too hot." I think this was just her way of getting me outside so she could bitch about our guests. She noted how all they did was sit around, never offering to help in any way as we wait on them hand and foot. Something about Andrew with his one enormous can of Monster that he'd brought for himself had pushed Gretchen over the edge. And I totally got it. As broke as I've been in my life (and I've been broke, even if never much in debt), I always tried to be a good guest: bringing food, making food, washing dishes, fixing things that needed fixing, that sort of thing. But Christine and Andrew, all they do is sit on the couch and consume. They're such couch potatoes that they won't even go for a modest hike in the forest. Soon thereafter, Gretchen took Charlotte for her usual morning run.
Later I made vegan BLTs, as Christine had specially asked for me to make those at some point. I had to use tempeh bacon instead of Smart Bacon, so they weren't quite as good, but they were plenty good. As I worked, I sipped from a glass of some sort of vanilla-flavored liquor that Christine and Andrew had brought that they would later want to take with them, though in the end they left it for some selfish reason. Their next destination would be one of my aunt's or cousin's places in Connecticut. It took them awhile to get their shit together and leave, but once they did, we immediately loaded our stuff into the Chevy Bolt and started driving to our Adirondack cabin, which we otherwise would've been at by twenty four hours ago. (Christine had specifically asked to visit us at our Hurley house instead of the cabin, perhaps to better avoid being in nature.)

Somewhere in the Charleston highlands north of Schoharie, WEXT played a beautiful song I'd forgotten about, "Fire on the Mountain" by the Marshall Tucker Band. It's a sad country-rock classic, with great (though apparently out-of-tune) pedal steel guitar and gloriously twangy singing. Gretchen immediately added it to her Spotify favorites, meaning I'd be hearing more of it in the future.

As usual, Gretchen and the dogs got out of the car to walk the rest of the way at the Woodworth Lake gate, and I drove in and unloaded the car by myself. It great to see all the burgeoning plants of springtime around the cabin. There are still a lot of annoying springtime flies, though a full airforce of dragonflies has arrived to suppress them.

This evening while Gretchen was reading on the couch, I was down in the basement (where the temperatures have risen from winter lows near freezing to around 57 Fahrenheit) and tried my best to get RS-485 data out of the Navien boiler. The Navien documentation is terrible, tained with lots of puke-inducing marketing copy and obvious attempts to cloak what is really going on behind the various curtains. A thread on had told me that Navien hot water heaters and boilers communicate via RS-485, something actual Navien literature was less specific about. But then it was hard to figure out which set of pins was the RS-485 port in my boiler. Reading between the lines on various sites, it seemed that the five pins labled "cascade" were the ones, and they had the same voltage levels in the same order as mentioned in the discussion. But when I hooked up my various RS-485-to-USB adapters (I have three!), none of them was able to retrieve or otherwise register a single byte of data. This was also my experience when trying to read RS-485 data from the SolArk inverter, which means that I have never yet successfully read a single RS-485 byte after hours of attempts. I don't think there is another subbranch of technology where I've had such a consistent run of failure.

Group photo in the front yard just before our visitors left today. From left: Andrew, Christine, Gretchen, and me. Click to enlarge.

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