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:
   congenital dambuilder
Wednesday, July 22 1998
There's a new page of pictures documenting the end of my Michigan trip.


n the morning, before the daytime heat of summer rose too high, my Dad and I did a little makeshift repair to one of the locust poles used to hold up electric wires that run to the barn. The pole has other uses of course; an outdoor lamp is up there and one end of Fred the Dog's zip line terminates there as well. The pole is at least 15 years old (though I remember when we put it in) and has rotted completely through at its base. It's only held up by the opposing forces of the zip line, the electric wires and a guy wire (used to counter Fred's pull when he gets excited). The solution today wasn't designed to be permanent; a new fence post had been installed and we simply lashed the light pole to this with heavy-gauge steel wire. In our family, we jokingly refer to such quick and dirty repairs as "Rowe-Roecap construction," in honour of the two families that occupied this farm immediately before we moved in back in 1976. We've encountered many of their shoddy fixes over the years.

"It's all temporary," said my Dad, "even skyscrapers." True, true.Yesterday I'd told my Dad that there are actually abandoned skyscrapers in Detroit, or so Chris Pranger told me.

"Everything is Rowe-Roecap construction in the sands of time," I agreed.


oday the weather south of Staunton, Virginia was hot like disease. There's no air conditioning or anything like that, but there is a stream out front. In an effort to add a few inches to the stream's depth, I built up the stone dam that lies just upstream from the highway bridge. Then I went skinny dipping. It wasn't especially recreational; it was mostly just functional. I needed to wash the sweat and grime off my body and of course I needed to cool off as well.

Now that the dam is higher, it roars rather loudly, changing the ambience in the backyard in a subtle way. Not too many summers ago, I used to spend considerable time down in the stream building up big dams of rock and mud. I'd make grand multi-week projects of it, using a wheelbarrow to cart stones from the talus slope down to the "engineering site." The dams would get so enormous that they'd cause conflicts with the neighbors both upstream and downstream. Of course (as is my nature), I always found myself going way too far, making my dams into engineering marvels, complete with plugable outflows that could induce minor flooding or cause the stream to nearly run dry depending on the settings. These dams were never very stable and didn't survive floods, though their ruins can still be found at the four or five places I built them.

At the urging of lots of people, I told Kim about the musings today. There's been no response as of yet. But more than being what I do, these musings have come to be what I am. So I think it's time she knew.

one year ago

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