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:
   first show of the house
Tuesday, October 7 2014
I'm a long-tail anachronism with regard to one thing: I do not normally carry a cellphone, and do not pay for a cellphone plan. I can get away with this because I rarely leave home and when I do, I can either use Gretchen's phone or I can bask in the bliss of being unreachable. Recently, though, my work on the Wall Street house has made it so that I am routinely unreachable. I've taken Gretchen's phone with me a few times, but sometimes we're both away from our landline, and in those cases her needs for her phone trump mine. I did a WiFi site survey at the Wall Street house and saw a promising "linksys" hotspot, which in the old days meant it was unconfigured and likely to be accessible without a password. There was a beautiful time in the early 2000s when all populated areas of the developed world had free internet available just by virtue of the many unconfigured hotspots, but those days are over. All new WiFi routers are set up to require a password by default, and it takes real effort to make them so they don't (at least that was my experience with a new Verizon WiFi DSL router). The linksys hotspot I saw in my site survey was protected by the WPA2 security protocol, which is only crackable with a lucky dictionary attack. So this afternoon when I drove into town, I stopped at the Walgreens at the plaza near Uptown and looked at their cheap, plan-free cellphone options. But there was just too much information to process; it was like signing up for health insurance on the kind of Byzantine health care exchange that Goldman Sachs might set up (and then take advantage of its inside knowledge to profit from). So I left without any phone at all. I think I'll have to do my research online, a place where I can better filter out the noise from options that do not concern me.
I had the dogs with me, which meant that they would be very bored once we arrived at the Wall Street house. I put out some small carpets for them to lie on, cranked up my podcasts, and turned my attention to removing the carpet track strips and the line of quarter-round hovering about an inch above the floor on the baseboard.
Eventually Gretchen arrived after getting off work, and she swept up the mess behind me. We'd be having friends over so we could show them the house, and she wanted it to look as nice as possible (given that the baseboards now needed to be repainted).
The first to arrive was Sarah the Vegan (bringing a bottle of wine that we refrigerated but never opened), then Susan & David, then Maresa (of Mark & Maresa, although they have since broken up), then Deborah, and finally Carrie (of Michæl and Carrie; they're still together). They all seemed surprised by how sound and tidy our house was given its $111,000 pricetag. Surprisingly, they all seemed convinced that putting a bathroom in the tiny front closet (which only measures about 29 by 43 inches) was doable. Maresa had brought her dog Lydia, so now at least Ramona had someone to play with and could do something other than jump up on the human visitors. As for Eleanor, she still seemed bored and somewhat emotionally fragile (this is a common condition for her), and she followed me around closely, never completely happy unless I was scratching her neck or rump.
For some reason I'd thought that we'd eventually be tearing up the carpet in the upstairs hallway and bedrooms as well, but today I learned from Gretchen that that wasn't her vision. It's a good thing I hadn't started tearing it up as one of the many tasks I've been doing there unsupervised. Today Gretchen decided to also leave the original carpet on the stairway after we peeled up a corner and saw that the wooden steps beneath had been painted. Gretchen thinks painted steps are ugly. I don't necessarily agree, but I'm perfectly happy implementing her vision.
Deborah, Susan, and David all went to a public meeting about a plan Kingston has to sell water from Cooper Lake to a water bottling company, a plan that will supposedly ease the tax burden in the City of Kingston while creating almost no jobs and making the local environment just that much less pleasant. I remarked that now that we pay Kingston property taxes, Gretchen and I are now supporters of the plan, and that was why we wouldn't be going. What we did instead was go to La Florentina was Carrie and Maresa for our usual meal of soup, salad, bread, and sformato (but no alcohol). Carrie had never been with us to La Florentina before, and would be enjoying these gluten-heavy dishes despite her belief that she has a gluten allergy. Surprisingly, when we arrived at La Florentina the place was packed (on a Tuesday night!) and at a large table near the front we found Ray & Nancy there with Nancy's sister Linda, brother-in-law Adam, young nephew Jonah, and both elderly parents. I didn't even know they knew about La Florentina, which Gretchen and I consider one of our best unkept secrets.

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