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:
   12 foot lumber in a six foot bed
Monday, July 25 2005
Gretchen went down to the City for the night, leaving me alone in this big house with the three dogs and four cats. The third dog, Kathy's Yellow Lab Murphy, made at least two visits to one of the neighbors this afternoon in a vain search for garbage.
Murphy is such an oversized dog that I couldn't include him on errands done with the truck. Three dogs and a human in the cab of a Toyota pickup might sound excessive in any case, and it is. But I've been known to do it when dog-sitting Carlos, a dog with the build of a fit Dalmatian.

As a mounting platform for the new (not yet built) hydronic solar panel, I've decided to build a deck over the north end of the laboratory roof. So today when I was at Lowes getting hardware for hanging some swing chairs we'd bought at Grey Fox Bluegrass Festival I went to look at the treated lumber to see what my options were in terms of four by four treated stock, the poles I'd need to stack the new deck atop the laboratory deck. I figured I needed sixteen foot four by fours to reach high enough to serve as a bannister pole at their top, but the longest Lowes stocked were 12 feet long. That would be fine if I could figure out how to attach bannister supports. And being 12 feet long, I might even be able to haul these home with my pickup truck. I'd hauled 12 foot long lumber once before, but I'd strapped it down across the roof of the cab. That would be impossible with something as stiff as a four by four. I'd have to put it in the bed with nearly half of it sticking out.
It's rare that I ever find a reason to resort to anything more advanced than sixth grade math, but to retroactively determine how much of my cargo was sticking out the back, I have to use the Pythagorean Theorem. The bed gate is about a foot and quarter high and the bed is six feet long, both sides of a right triangle. The part of the four by four stock inside the bed forms the hypotenuse. Thus that part is the square root of six squared plus 1.25 squared, or 6.13 feet. That meant that 5.87 feet were sticking out over the road in the back. To keep it from leaping out when I hit a bump, I buried the long pieces beneath shorter ten foot pieces that I would also be using on this project, and then I lashed it all down with rope. Still, I was careful and didn't take the curves at my usual dashboard-object-centrifuging speeds. I was also dropped down to a mere 35 mph when crossing the old railroad tracks on 209 near the Hurley State Police Barracks. This allowed me to get my lumber home without any problems.

This afternoon I took all three dogs to the Secret Spot on the Esopus. Some guy was there with his bicycle, which caught me by surprise since there had been no car in the parking area. The guy looked like the Unabomber, but he might have had as much right to be there as me (and I definitely had some). Still, I kept an eye on my wallet as I waded out into the water. Like the Unabomber and the Isræli Mossad, I recognize the occasional necessity of mailing bombs to certain people, but I think terrorists should have to pay for their own bomb making supplies.

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