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:
   DIY ingenuity vs. quality customer service
Monday, July 14 2014
This morning Gretchen looked into the proofer to see how my fava bean tempeh was coming and decided she didn't like what she saw; the voids between the beans were too big, and she thought they should be compacted. I told her that it was fine, that the mycelium would fill those voids and all would be well. But she insisted on meddling with the bags holding the beans, tucking the tops under in a way that both blocked the air holes I'd poked in the lower surface of the bags and made it more likely that the beans would spill out if disturbed. While she was poking around, she noticed that it wasn't even warm in the proofer. Something was wrong.
So I evacuated the bags of beans up to the laboratory, where I have that rack that folds down over the tea pot and served as a makeshift proofer in the past. In the process, of course, the beans spilled out and I had to put them back in by hand, introducing unwanted biological cultures to the carefully-prepared fava bean medium.
Once that was taken care of, I turned my attention to the proofer, a fancy Brød & Taylor model<> Gretchen had bought from King Arthur Flour. The box was long gone, and I assumed it couldn't be returned. My experience lately has been that it's easier just to fix things myself instead of relying on warranty service, and this led me to fetch my screw gun so I could take the proofer apart. I assumed it had a blown fuse that would be easy to replace. But once I had it open, there were no fuses. There was a fancy 3 pin BT137 triac that looked like it probably should have had a heat sink. Not knowing how it was supposed to work, I checked it with a multimeter and found voltages on all three pins ranging from 12 to 27 volts. At some point while I was testing it, it actually started heating the heating coils (something it had been doing successfully last night), and I figured I should attach a heat sink to that triac (which gets hot when it is working). But after fashioning one from a strip of flattened copper cut from a copper pipe, I couldn't get the proofer to work anymore. I was tired of fucking with it and Gretchen and I were having snippy words over it (why had she fucked with my tempeh, why had I insisted on taking it apart right away, etc.), and I wished the damned thing had never come into my life. I wondered if any of the well-off urban professionals who buy proofers actually use them or if they only acquire them to say they have them as part of the equipment in their gourmet show kitchens (meaning Brød & Taylor could save a lot of money on quality assurance). But then Gretchen called Brød & Taylor and told them about the problem and they immediately shipped us a new heating base. With that kind of customer support, people who do what I do would be a lot less necessary in the world.

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