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:
   nicks of chaos
Wednesday, November 13 2002

Louis came again to help with the house. He's been available the last two days because rain has forced him from his other, higher-priority outdoor worksite. Today he built a wall in the master bedroom's bathroom so we'd have a properly-uncluttered place to mount shower heads. There'd been some big-ass PVC pipes running in front of the original wall. While he was doing that, I was off modifying a Square D circuit breaker box so that its ground would run separately from its neutral. I had to do this to keep neutral current from contaminating ground on the remote attic circuits. This involved bolting in a new ground strip. Since this would have the same potential as the box, I bolted it to that directly, as neatly as possible. I'm sure an inspector would find some problem with what I'd done, but at Lowes I hadn't been able to find a small circuit breaker box with separate ground and neutral bars.


I realized that the difference between dogs and wolves might be a switch in their brain's reward system. This switch would be the one that gives any standard dog in any standard household "brain pleasure currency" for obedience and attentiveness. Meanwhile, other factors in the reward system, ones unimportant to humans, remain unaffected. These continue to reward dogs for performing features of alpha-wolf status, such as running at the head of the pack, a concession humans don't mind making.
Visualizing the process of natural selection today, I saw it as a big spinning log in space, periodically being hit by a stray grain of sand from a thin sand cloud representing "chaos." Either the damage inflicted by the grain would heal over or it would make a positive contribution to the shape of the log and thus be allowed to remain. Speeding up this visualization in my mind, the log gradually came to be engraved by the nicks of chaos into a beautifully-ornate totem pole of Baroque complexity and dazzling order.

In the evening, Gretchen and I drove to Saugerties and met up with Katie and Louis at the Main Street Bar and Grill, a straight-shooting meat and potatoes kind of place that Gretchen would never normally patronize. The only thing she found appetizing on the menu was the fried potato skins (the token vegetarian entree was too rich in peppers for her fussy eating preferences).
After a hurried dinner, we walked to a nearby downtown Saugerties movie theatre and saw Punch Drunk Love. The thing I kept observing in the movie was one of technique - the use of sudden loud noises and car crashes especially - presumably to keep the audience on edge. There were also a few refreshing - if somewhat disappointing - scenes where Hollywood convention was subverted. The most impressive - and disappointing - of these was when a fight that your Hollywood training has prepared you to expect doesn't actually materialize.
I talked to Gretchen about the movie on the drive home and she obviously hadn't liked it nearly as much as I had. She was telling me something tangential that was supposed to convince me that the director was being too clever with the in-jokes, yet I hadn't noticed any such thing. Conversely, movies she likes (such as The Royal Tenenbaums) strike me as being much more that way. I think this is the standard criticism of a clever movie whose cleverness is not well-tuned to the reviewer's sensibility.

I stayed up late working on a shelf in the wall above the master bedroom's toilet. Louis had suggested we install some recessed nooks and crannies into the new wall he'd built (which is several inches in front of the old wall) to take advantage of that space. If that space was just a little wider, we could hide Anne Frank in there.

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