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:
   Roku enabled
Saturday, July 19 2008
David and Penny were going to go yard saling in Woodstock this morning and had arranged with me to pick me up. I had no idea they'd be coming at 7:30am, but the thing about waking up early is that once you're actually out of bed it's not much worse than sleeping in, plus many cheerfully sober hours get added to your day.
Our yard saling started within a quarter mile of home at a sale being held in the yard adjacent to a massive obnoxious grey McMansion mercifully invisible from Dug Hill Road. The woman of the house (who, in keeping with her house, drives an enormous white Cadillac Escalade) had actually driven into our yard a few days ago to see if we'd be interested in participating in the neighborhood bloom of sales. Her husband(?) recognized me immediately as the guy who drives around salvaging firewood from the roadside; I think he actually works for the Town of Hurley highway department. They had some good stuff in their sale too, but we weren't eager to buy anything so early in our yard saling. The same was true at another sale a couple hundred feet to the north.
Before commencing yard saling in Woodstock, we stopped at Bread Alone to get coffee and something to eat. This marked the first occasion where I have found any particular advantage to shopping in Woodstock: Bread Alone had a bagel that came with, get this, salmon. That might seem like a small culinary luxury, but I know from experience that finding a delicious bagel outside of New York City is a hit-or-miss proposition on its own, and getting one with salmon is impossible unless you have a connection to the local Jewish community. In Woodstock, you might not be able to get welding gas, a filing cabinet, a DRAM memory stick, or a used Honda Insight, but you can definitely get a bagel with caper-flavored cream cheese and salmon.
We went to a good eight or ten yard sales in the greater Woodstock and Saugerties area, starting on Lower Byrdcliffe, taking 212 out to Lake Hill, then going back to West Hurley and then out to West Saugerties. Some of the sales, particularly those on 212 in the Lake Hill area, were absolutely mobbed with other yard salers. Prices for things, as always, were a hit and miss thing. An old woman living alone wanted $25 for a used Craftsman electric handsaw and of course I didn't want it that badly, but then in West Hurley I was able to buy forty feet of electrical heat tape for only a dollar. The most intriguing find was a pair of Bushnell binoculars with a built-in digital camera for $10. (The binoculars, as binoculars, weren't bad, but later at home I found that the camera's images were dark, only a single megapixel, and didn't appear to have benefitted from any sort of telephoto optics.)
One of the downsides of yard saling so early is that there are no bathrooms for yard salers, and most people feel the need to do a number two in the morning, particularly once they've had their coffee. But number twos can be postponed. It's not a comfortable thing to do, but regular yard salers surely have a well-developed muscles for the forcing of irregularity. More urgent for me was the need to piss, but I could hold it until Penny and David returned me home. Penny was driving that final leg and she wasn't doing too well. The sublimated bodily functions, the coffee, and the half bottle of wine she'd had last night were all conspiring against her, and at some point in the drivetime conversation she said she feared she might have to throw up. As I was getting out of the car, Penny was acting like she was about to explode out of every orifice, so I was in a bit of a hurry, managing to leave two yard sale purchases (a blue bathroom mat and spice grinder) behind.

This afternoon I made another bluestone gathering foray using my special bluestone hauling pack. This time I went to the old mine just above the Stick Trail (41.92782N, 74.10552W) less than a quarter mile from home. I carried a heavier load this time, but in so doing managed to inflict a lingering injury on my shoulder in the place where the wood of the frame cuts in too sharply.

Today Gretchen and I took delivery of a $100 device called the Roku Netflix Player. It's a little box about the size of a ten CD wallet that connects to the television and allows a Netflix subscriber to watch certain movies on demand via the internet, without having to wait for the red envelopes to arrive in the mail. The Roku can connect to the internet either via ethernet or wirelessly, and it took me something like thirty seconds to get it configured and working. You select movies for it using your Netflix login on an actual computer; so far there is no Roku-based movie browsing system, although there's no reason the Roku device couldn't be expanded to serve as a complete web appliance. The box contains no hard drive (nor even a cooling fan), but presumably it has flashable storage and a respectable amount of RAM.
Gretchen tends to maintain a mental image of the future far in advance of mine; for me any time beyond two or three days from now verges on science fiction. This is why I have never had much of an interest in making contributions to our Netflix queue. I just can't guarantee I'll still be interested in whatever I added by the time it arrives three or five days later. But with Roku, you surf to Netflix, do some searches, add some items, and then plunk down in front of the teevee to enjoy. It fits my relationship with time perfectly! This was how I began a marathon of The Office watching. (The American version, not the British.)
The Office is unusual comedy in that I find it highly entertaining, but I'm not actually laughing much when I'm watching it. As a faux-reality-teevee program, the delight turns out to be the gradual development of the characters over the course of many episodes. At first I assumed continuity would be poor, but it's one of the main things the Office has going for it. As for Gretchen, years ago she watched an episode or two and found it/them too painful to enjoy. Normally our comedic interests coincide, but I have a much stronger stomach for emotional cruelty than she has.

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