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

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   80286 in an Athlon world
Sunday, February 25 2007

For the first time in over a week, I was out driving by myself, this time for a meeting east of Woodstock. As in the past, I'd scan the shoulders for free firewood as I drove, but the difference now was that almost everything was buried in snow. Only now did I fully-realize that a huge factor in my ability to scavenge firewood "just in time" has been this winter's precipitational restraint. Last year I scavenged most of my firewood from a pile near a set of Bearsville dumpsters, which was possible even after heavy snows because I knew exactly where it was. But this year all my firewood has come from random sites as opportunity provided them. To satisfy "just in time" wood needs, the best I can do in these conditions is cut down dead trees, the only visible source of dry wood in nature. For logistical reasons, then, nearly all my "just in time" demand is being satisfied by trees within walking distance of home.

Despite recent snows, other things are still available out in nature if by "nature" one includes the cavernous interior of a big box retailer. This was how I came to obtain such needed supplies as replacement razor blades for one of my shavers and three pullstring-activated light sockets.
I quickly installed two of the latter in the small copper swing lamps above the bed, replacing sockets having push-stick switches. The push sticks had been a too high to reach when fully-reclined and buried in cats.
As for the razor blade replacements, I'd gotten the kind suitable for Mach 3 Gillette razors, assuming my "other" basement bathtub razor (not the six-bladed Gillette Fusion) was a Mach 3. I knew it was a Gillette, but hadn't correctly remembered the number of blades. It turned out to only be a two-bladed Gillette (an 80286 in an Athlon world), and the attachment interface between its handle and Mach 3 blades was completely incompatible, as incompatible as Socket 7 is to Slot A. Hmm, could Gillette be following a similar model of forced-obsolescence to the one employed by Intel, keeping consumers' flexibility to a minimum by ensuring non-interchangeability between parts of different product generations?

This evening Gretchen and I attended a vegetarian Indian-cuisine dinner party given by our friend Susan the German translator, who is staying at a friend's weekend place in West Hurley while working out the details (financial, emotional, and otherwise) of her ongoing divorce. The other three people in attendance were all part of the greater Bard College faculty community, of which Susan was once a part and which Gretchen recently joined. Happily, though, conversation was not strictly about collegiate matters. Conversation lingered for a long time on the subject of household energy efficiency and home repair, subjects where educated childless adults can always find things to talk about. At some point I was also coaxed into talking about my dissolute youth at Oberlin and the circumstances of how I no longer came to be a student there, the good old days when the inflammable chaos of my dorm room anticipated both the Shaque and my laboratory.

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