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:
   carpenter malpractice
Saturday, October 18 2008
David (of Penny and David) picked me up this morning at the beginning of a day of yard saling, and we continued on to Woodstock, Saugerties, doubled back to Hurley, ending up at a yard sale on Scarawan Road near Stone Ridge. The pickings had been poor, but at this last yard sale I bought a ridiculously-long quasi-military winter coat and a teapot, among other things. The teapot was beautiful, but it later proved useless as a teapot. As for the winter coat, I'm thinking about giving it to my psychologically-challenged brother, who is something of an expert on dinosaurs and totalitarians of the early 20th Century. It's not difficult to picture him goose stepping and making wild lightbulb-threatening Nazi salutes in that coat.
At his house, David wanted me to look at a problem one of his contractors had identified while working in the small insulated room of the building's basement (which is otherwise perched atop stilts). The contractor had identified some rot in the place where the timber frame came closest to the slope of the surrounding terrain. I went to the outside to see what was going on and noted that soil had been allowed to accumulate on the foundation slab, allowing water to linger near this corner. More troubling, though, was that when I reached my hand through a narrow gap beneath the house's brand-new siding, I could feel rotten framing. The contractor who had recently redone all of the house's siding (for over $20,000) had slapped brand new wood over rotten structure, a serious case of carpenter malpractice. I prescribed some digging and drainage tile, but ultimately it seemed certain that someone was going to have to rip that siding off, cut out the rot in the framing, and replace it with something (either concrete or treated wood). I was sorry I didn't have better news to report, but those are the breaks. Penny and David live in a beautiful modernist house, but it had been designed and built early in its architect's career, back before he knew (for example) the importance of keeping soil and wood separate.

This eveing I took the dogs on a concrete-and-concrete-block buying errand, getting seven blocks and 240 pounds of dry concrete. That comes to 443 pounds, which, with the dogs, comes to a total of 530 pounds of non-driver payload. That's a lot, but I distributed the weight evenly and the car seemed to handle it better than other heavy loads I've carried recently.
Back at the house, I tore apart the passenger-side rear wheel of the hatchback to see if anything in there was loose. There's definitely something loose somewhere in the braking system, but I've yet to find it. My next suspect is the passenger-side front wheel.

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