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:
   dressed up as Republican takeover of the Senate
Saturday, November 1 2014
I drove out to Home Depot first thing this afternoon to switch out the 16 inch sink hoses for 20 inch versions. For some reason, the receipt I had for the hoses was actually a Hurley post office receipt, but the guy somehow returned the value of the hoses to my credit card anyway, or did he? What proof did I have that he hadn't just taken the hoses and not put anything back on my credit card? [Later when I called my credit card company and asked for transactions, there was none for what had taken place this morning, though perhaps some of those transactions take time to register.]
At the Wall Street house, I found some light green paint in among the gallons that had come with the house, so I used it to lay down a coat in the new bathroom. I also tried attaching the sink in the slot I'd made for it, but it wasn't quite level enough. But it was close enough to where it would end up for me to do a sanity check on the plumbing. It looked like the drain pipe was going to be easy to arrange, but, at 20 inches, the cold water hose was barely long enough and I was going to need at least 24 inches to make the hot water hose reach the taps down near the floor. Part of the problem was that I'd set the sink about 37 inches above the floor. I'd wanted it high so it wouldn't crowd the space in front of the toilet.
Before I left the house, I loaded two potted plants on the front and back porch into my car so I could move them into the greenhouse back in Hurley. There was a strong chance it would freeze tonight, and I didn't want their deaths on my conscience. Another thing I would do would be to gather the peppers from the pepper bush, since they cannot survive a frost either.
When I returned home to Hurley, there was an ongoing shitstorm regarding that theatre website I've been working for. Their SSL security certificate had been revoked and now when people tried to buy movie tickets online, their browsers were treating the site as though it was run by a Nigerian "prince." I ended up being the one to actually install the new key and certificate and solve the problem. This was possible because I knew exactly what files needed to be replaced and because I wasn't gunshy about making changes to the live server (especially since it was already more-or-less broken).
With that out of the way, I could turn my attention to making a costume for tonight's belated Halloween party over at the animal sanctuary in Willow. I'd decided to be something especially terrifying for the season: a Republican takeover of the Senate. To convey this idea, I'd decided to dress up as a Republican, complete with suit, tie, and flag pin. To this, I would add a little turtle doll having Mitch McConnell's likeness for a head (an allusion to a recurring Stephen Colbert joke) and an elaborate headdress made to look like a simplified version of the Capitol Dome. To make the dome, I started with an aluminum lampshade from a simple clip-on light, used epoxy to attach the domelike active surface of an old lemon squeezer, and to that I used epoxt to attach an upside-down nail as a sort of flagpole spire (buttressed by a length of HDPE tuping). For columns, I attached a series of short wooden plugs (pieces of an appropriately-thick tree branch sanded slightly to reduce their girth for some of their length) around the circumference of the dome using drywall screws and then slipped short sections of HDPE tuping over each. I painted the whole thing white using my finger and some acrylic paint. (It turns out that an imperfect layer of white over a shiny surface of aluminum makes a pretty good approximation of marble.) The result would have looked like this had the black and white laser-printer picture of Mitch McConnell been high contrast color and not a series of faint grey smudges:

From left: Susan, Gretchen, and me at Susan's house before the party. Photo by Deborah.

The resulting headdress was uncomfortable to wear, since the columnless pegs in the front tended to poke my forehead, but Halloween is never about comfort. The last thing left to do was to make my late-70s Farrah Fawcett hair (these days it seems to want to do that look naturally) look more conservative. So I used Elmer's glue to glop it down as close to my skull as possible and also to pull it up in the back, making the whole thing look like a somewhat-anachronistic politician's coif. Meanwhile, Gretchen was dressing up as a not-Gretchen, which in this case involved a bluish wig, a flouncy purple-pink dress, her tall knee-high red fake leather boots, and lots of makeup. She looked hot; when she wore that same wig to a Halloween event six years ago, it was as if I was with a woman not my wife.
We drove over to Susan and David's place just east of Woodstock, where Susan and Deborah had just dressed up as not-versions of themselves. Deborah had on a blond wig and looked, it was eventually decided, like a retired Christian prostitute. And Susan had on a brunette wig that came with ribbons and two pigtails and maybe looked like an eight year old girl. David, who was off at Bah Mitzvah, had had his picture taken in that same wig and had looked like an eight year old boy.
Susan did the driving to the party. It was a pot luck, and Gretchen had made a tiramisu that was perhaps a bit too big for the party, which was smaller than usual for a party at the sanctuary. Perhaps the shitty weather with its cold, spitting rain had scared people away. I drank a couple IPA-style beers and mostly sat on the couch talking to Dawn the lighting designer or listening to Deborah impersonate her mother, who apparently sounds like a whiskey-swilling trailer park denizen. Dawn was somewhat disturbed by my Mitch McConnell doll, made as it was out of a genuine Box Turtle shell. Initially she didn't know who had made it and she said (as many vegans would) that she thought it was disrespectful to make something out of a part of a formerly-living creature. I said that I respected her opinion on the matter, but that I disagreed: there's nothing wrong with using the remains of creatures that died of natural causes. And, I added, "at least I'm not a hypocrite on the issue because I grant permission to all who find my bones to use them as they see fit." Dawn was concerned about informed consent, but things said by me and Gretchen (and the news that it was I, not some unknown person who had made the doll), she relaxed her initial concerns. Mind you, I was making all my points under the influence of a the demon weed, but evidently I was doing it successfully.

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