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:
   Krazy Thom's house
Monday, May 11 1998

  spent almost all day bent to the task of making an AC adapter with rechargeable 6 volt battery for my digital camera. I'd assigned this task a high priority since my camera is a battery hog. I'd like to make frequent use of it, and thinking about what it's costing me in batteries could be just enough to keep me from using it as much as I should.

In the end, I discovered the connector that the camera requires is exactly the same as the kind used to power the Sony Discman. The Discman is a 5 volt device, so the actual Sony adapter is insufficent to power my camera, a 6 volt device. I looked around and found a 10 volt Yamaha transformer that worked fine, though I was kind of nervous about the high voltage it was putting out and put a chain of diodes in series along the positive power line, bringing the voltage down to seven point something volts. I know this must be fascinating stuff for all you who read these musings exclusively to find out about my latest tussin adventures. Shame on you who would limit yourselves so!

The thing I learned from all of this was a valuable economic lesson: had I worked all day instead of playing with my soldering iron I could have easily earned more than enough ($29.95) to buy my camera a power adapter (albeit one lacking a rechargeable battery). In this age of mass production, the benefit of do-it-yourself hobby endeavours is purely educational. You cannot save yourself any money by making things for yourself. This was a very sad realization.

As I worked, I watched the History Channel non-stop. If Monica Lewinski would do anything new (like publicly swing from our president's jock), maybe I'd go back to MSNBC.

Meanwhile Wacky Jen was hosting a "spaghetti night" (not a potato night). I stayed home, though it would have been fun to get out of the house. The truth is, when I'm really wrapped up in my projects, wild horses couldn't make me turn gay.

Besides, the weather was miserable: cold rain fell leisurely on and off all day. May drizzle brings June sizzle.


hen Johnny Boom Boom and "the girls" (Jessika, Deya, Wacky Jen and Kirstin the Ecoradical) returned from spaghetti night at Jen's house, they had scads of beers for some unexplained reason. Johnny, of course, had his own fresh bottle of Mad Dog. Kirstin had drawn a picture of dogs humping each other on Johnny's arm, complete with the phrase "It's just dog sex!" She went on to draw a picture of a bleeding chicken on my left hand with yet another of her quotes, "It's chicken blood!"

They all wanted to walk to the new home of Franz and Elizabeth on nearby Piedmont Street, where the couple has moved in with a group of people including Krazy Thom. Off we went, our rag tag contingent on the prowl as usual.

At the intersection of Piedmont and Fontaine is the old house where the Malvern Girls lived during the Summer of 1995, and as we walked past, it provoked reminisced stories of life there from Jessika.

Piedmont ends in a cul-du-sac somewhere near the tracks of the Lynchburg rail line, and the house we sought was one adjacent to the large asphalt circle. In front of the house on a wooden bench sat Cory the [former] Coffee Cart Girl and Krazy Thom. Thom's leg was in a cast. The story about that is as follows: In the midst of his many feats of daring near the end of the last Space Party , Krazy Thom was attempting pole vaults and somehow he managed to break his tibia and pull a whole mess of tendons. Today was his first go of walking on it since the injury. Interestingly, the night of the accident, Thom didn't have a ride from the hospital and he crutched all the way back (either to Blond House or his own house, a long way either way).

Thom took Deya and me around the house to his enormous backyard to show us a number of very large cacti he'd got for free from some old lady. They were the size of small trees (some of them even had bark) but they had almost inconsequential root balls.

Then Thom gave me a tour of the house. He's renting the place, but, according to Thom, the landlord has given him free rein to do as he wants. In the basement he has a cluttered work bench (complete with vicious power tools and an empty can of Red Dog beer), and nearby is a whole sector dedicated to live electrically-amplified music, with all the tools of the trade. Here he practices with his noise band (which we call "The Wertland Street Band" though it now has a fixed, official name - "Incubus" or some such).

Upstairs, everything was very tidy and clean, and a recording of The Wertland Street Band's dissonant amelodious music played quietly on the stereo.

Johnny and Kirstin could soon be heard trying to make music on the rock and roll equipment downstairs, so I joined them for awhile on guitar, but it wasn't like we were really talented or inspired.

I returned to the upstairs, and in the kitchen found Wacky Jen, Cory, Thom and this girl Stephanie (who used to be a frequent visitor to the Dynashack) playing an unscored game of Boggle. It's the game where six-sided die, each containing arbitrary letters from the alphabet, are randomly shuffled into a two dimensional square grid, whereupon players try to find chains of letters that form words, writing them down. The idea is to find words that no one else can find. I think I've played Boggle before, probably a very long time ago. Anyway, it looked like a lot of fun, so I joined them. Stephanie was somewhat better than the rest of us. As for me, well, I think alcohol had dulled my edge, but I wasn't too bad. Some games later, we were joined by this other girl named El (she was the one who, at the 'Fridge Full of Forties Party, grabbed a kitchen knife to defend the house should the tough guys return - after they'd kicked in the door). El was even better at Boggle than Stephanie; it was almost discouraging. The hour had grown late, so we all headed home shortly thereafter. Cory walked back with Wacky Jen, Johnny, Kirstin and me and caught a ride to Abundance House with Jen. Jessika and Deya had walked home at least an hour earlier.

one year ago

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