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:
   plausibly deniable fuse box
Wednesday, August 18 2010
Ray and Nancy finally moved up from Brooklyn yesterday and Ray called me today about a glitch in his upstairs electrical system. It had died when someone had been operating a floor sander. It sounded like a circuit breaker problem, but when I dropped by on my way to pick up the week's CSA bag, no additional circuit breaker boxes could be found. There was a mystery box in the attic crawl space and this box had a switch on it. But throwing that switch didn't fix the problem. At some point I decided to pull the box's cover off to see what might be happening inside it (it had no particular markings except a somewhat florid reference to its manufacturer). At that point the problem was obvious: the box was a fuse box and inside were two screw-in fuses of the sort that are probably noncompliant in modern building codes. I remember similar fuses in the fuse box of my childhood home, but even those were replaced in the early 1990s. I was reminded that during some phase of the purchasing process for Ray and Nancy's new house, the upstairs power was out and the young adult who lived there didn't seem to know why. That problem was fixed and the house changed hands. But nowhere in the microcassette-recorded guide to the house's many idiosyncrasies (helpfully left for Ray and Nancy by the seller) had there been a mention of this fuse box. I'm guessing that the seller knew that the fuse box was a potential deal breaker and after having to spend $20,000 to get an oil tank removed from the ground, they drew the line at having an electrician come out to replace it with proper circuit breakers (even though this would have been a small job). Instead they feigned ignorance at its existence on the theory that, since it was a drab grey box hidden away in an attic crawl space, they could plausibly deny knowing about it. From the looks of it, the box dates to the 50s or 40s.

As for today's CSA haul, it was particularly squash-heavy. I just don't think I'm going to muster the appetite for squash that such a relentless supply requires.

For linking purposes this article's URL is:

previous | next