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:
   dead crab on the beach
Tuesday, August 19 2008
Most people digging out a 14 by 10 foot basement hole for a greenhouse would use a big yellow backhoe, but my tools have been a regular gardening hoe, a snow shovel, a mattock, a five gallon bucket (for separate handling of mid-sized cobblestones), and (every now and then) a metal detector to ensure that I'm not closing in on buried cable. Though my tools are primitive, I've made good progress in a week and a half. There's also at least one advantage to digging a large hole with small tools in small bites. It allows me to sort out the resulting materials into different piles. If I were using a backhoe, the soil and rocks removed from the hole would be one enormous unsorted pile of huge boulders, tiny cobblestones, topsoil, roots, and clay. But since my relationship to the soil is much more intimate, one snow shovel at a time, I can pluck out the fist-sized cobblestones to put them in a separate pile. And since large boulders have to be wrestled out on their own, they end up in yet another pile. When I'm done with the excavation, I'll be surrounded with neatly-categorized piles of materials I can use for building the greenhouse itself.

My preferred streaming music station (SOMA FM's Indie Pop Rocks) is the main way I discover new music. This is how I end up obsessing about bands no one else knows, tagging strata of my lifespan with ample opportunities for instant nostalgia.
Today I downloaded a bunch of music by the Editors, who are popular enough that their music is easily obtained from the Gnutella file sharing network and doesn't need to be purchased. It turns out that the Editors are wildly popular in the their native Britain, but you'd be hard pressed to find anyone has heard of them here. The Editors are not an especially original band in as much as they continue the tradition begun with the Doors, advanced, chilled, and mutilated by Joy Division, and then resurrected by Interpol. The Editors take the Interpol sound (complete with Ian Curtis's Frank-Sinatra-by-way-of-Jim-Morrison vocal stylings) and simplify it further, slightly warming the vocals while chilling the arrangements. What we're left with is analog music done in the spirit of Electronica. The songs (including the lyrics) have the shimmering, overlapping, repetition-heavy layers of modern dance music (indeed, the drums, which are actually played by a human, sound nearly as mechanical as the drum machines used by their granddaddy, Joy Division).
The musical dynamics of the Editors are straight out of the rave scene. In the song "Open Your Arms," the lyrics slowly build from a shy "Look up, look up, look up now, it's a long way down" to a deafeningly self-assured, "Open your arms and welcome/People to your town!" Even if you have no serotonin left, it's hard not to feel its vicarious buzz.
My favorite song by the Editors is An End Has a Start, a concert video of which I found on YouTube:

As you can see, they have no trouble filling a stadium with crazed fans.

Those who have been reading this life log for years will remember that one of the recurring threads is the travails of one of my incisors (the one adjacent to my left upper canine), which was damaged in a freak accident back in the autumn of 1994 at punk rock show in Blacksburg, Virginia. Usually when I provide an update on this tooth's fate, I give a quick recap of its experiences to date.
The tooth was repaired with a filling soon after the accident, though the tooth abscessed and eventually pus broke through to the gum's surface in the Summer of 1998. I didn't do anything about this until the Summer of 2000, when Bathtubgirl (my then-girlfriend) signed me up for a dental appointment, perhaps as a measure of self-defense. At that point the abscess was fixed with a cheap root canal, though I didn't get a proper crown for the tooth until the Spring of 2003 (this time at the insistance of the Gretchen administration). For whatever reason the dead remnant of the tooth didn't appreciate its crown, and gradually a gap emerged beneath it. In this gap, a civilization of bacteria eventually came to thrive, and I found it almost impossible to keep it clean. While Gretchen and I were in Scotland in the Summer of 2007, I remember standing and watching bagpipers and dancers at Stirling Castle, and with that imagery I also remember the smell on the fingernail I'd just rubbed through that gap beneath my crown. Nobody should have to live with such a thing going on in his mouth.
Some months later I discovered that threading copper wire through the gap seemed to keep the bacteria in check. But this past January the force of a wire I was pulling into the gap yanked the crown off its stump. Horrified, I cleaned up the crown and the stump and superglued the two together. The glue completely filled the gap and for the first time in years the tooth seemed healthy again.
Gradually, though, bits of superglue came loose from beneath the crown and a void re-emerged, and again the fragrance-producing bacteria moved in. I'd try to keep the void clean by picking at it whenever I had nothing else to do with my hands, but it was a lost cause. Tonight I was sitting in front of my computer and sawing my left pinky fingernail back and forth in the void as I've often done and then, pop, off came the crown! Again I had the horror of looking at the tiny brown remnants of my dead tooth. And again I ran to the bathroom to clean both the stump and the crown. Afterwards I did a side-by-side comparison of the $1000 crown and the cheap resin temporary crown that had preceded it for a couple weeks. Damn if the void inside the permanent crown wasn't a lot bigger! So instead of reattaching the permanent crown, I used the temporary crown, which had been outside of my mouth for five years. This time the glue was temporary dental adhesive.
I'll be going to the dentist soon to see if anything can be done to improve the fit of the permanent crown (which, even after soaking in bleach, still smells like a dead crab on the beach).

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