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:
   end of a 125 household Verizon DSL outage
Tuesday, February 21 2012
The internet outage continued for a second day today, so I drove into Kingston just to professionally touch base with a few people who might have been wondering what had happened to me. I went to Dream Weavers, the café at the corner of Front and Wall Streets, and (because of the unusual circumstances) justified getting myself a cup of coffee in addition to the hummus-and-tomato bagel (which wasn't very good; I think the tomatoes were too flavorful for this sort of sandwich). Also while I was out, I picked up an oversized delivery from the Hurley Post Office. It was an overhead projector, the kind people my age remember from their days back in school. My goal is to use it to project digital images from an old laptop onto a wall.
Back at the house, I'd been soaking a batch of chick peas overnight in anticipation of a second batch of tempeh (which can be made with a variety of legumes and grains in addition to the usual soy). The internet was still down, so it was a perfect opportunity to begin the process of inoculation and incubation. I'm very happy with the makeshift incubator that folds down from the wall above my hot water pot; it folds away to nothing when not in use, and it's easy to regulate temperature when in use by deploying or removing the flaps of aluminized bubblewrap that form a skirt around the hot water pot.
Another project involving the growth of vegetative life is my plant seedling project in the south-facing dining room window. While in town, I'd bought a lamp having a magnetic base for use in assisting the photosynthesis of my seedlings during the remaining weeks of winter. As I tried to find a place to put it, it occurred to me that a strip or two of steel here and there would make it easy to precisely position numerous such lamps. All I would have to do would be cut up one those Cor-Ten scraps out in the garage, drill some holes, attach it to one of the vertical pieces of wood inside the window frame, and paint it white so its presence wouldn't be obvious. The problem with Cor-Ten, of course, is that it is a rusting steel, and it's hard to paint on it with a water soluable paint without getting a freckled paint job. It's possible, but it takes multiple coats, and one of those coats has to be artists' acrylic titanium white.
When the internet wasn't up even after all of that, I called Verizon again to complain, ending up with a woman whose voice sounded possibly Filipina. It was the same old run-around, but she actually had information that I didn't know (and I was surprised she was willing to tell me). The internet outage was, she said, affecting 125 people.
The internet came back a full two hours before the robot at Verizon called me to deliver the news.
Meanwhile Gretchen, who had given a lecture about veganism to a food ethics class in Sullivan County and then put in a module at Eastern Correctional Facility, was driving north on US 209 on her way to Bard College. Not wanting to take the detour from our house, she called me from the road to bring her some paperwork she needed, and I met her at the Hurley Mountain Inn. Down on the Esopus floodplain across Wynkoop, the ground still wasn't frozen, so I gathered two buckets of chocolate cake topsoil. A nearby refuse pile consisted of concrete blocks and firewood. It was the kind of wood that a clean freak would pass up; it looked like long-dead White Ash that had been bucked into pieces and left to sit for too long on the ground. But I knew it would be perfectly good if allowed to dry for a few weeks, so I gathered nearly all of it and loaded it into the parts of the Subaru not occupied by either dogs or me.

For the rest of the day, I found myself suffering from stomach complaints. Sometimes these took the form of acid reflux (which I usually treat by eating baking soda, but there's a limit to how much of that I want to eat in a day) and other times it felt like the opposite problem, like perhaps my Antrum cardiacum (the valve connecting my esophagus to my stomach) was clenching too tightly. (I've complained about both problems in the past, but the second is relatively recent, dating to 2004.) I've noticed such problems seem to be aggravated by certain foods, particularly a combination of beans and corn. They also seem to be aggravated by brown (but not clear) alcoholic liquors.

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