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:
   custom Ferguson show
Monday, November 24 2014
It had rained a lot last night, and by this morning the greenhouse basement was flooded all the way to the level of the drainage pipe for the first time since this summer's jackhammer-facilitated excavation. (I calculated that the amount of water in that excavation exceeded a thousand gallons.) The rains brought a gorgeously warm day, with temperatures maxing out somewhere just below 70 degrees. It warmed up so quickly outside that condensation formed against the outsides of the windows; the cool air in the house acted like cold water in a glass. For the first time in weeks, we opened the windows and doors and let the fresh air in. My laboratory always smells so good when I do that. I associate that smell with spring, and it has a subtle positive affect on my mood. Evidently it also had a positive effect on the moods of the critters, particularly Celeste the Kitten, who ran around like crazy and made many forrays into the yard. She also had this amusing interaction with the frozen surface of the kiddie pool, which had become detached from the sides now floated free. She'd remembered it as a solid surface and was a little surprised when it sank beneath her weight.

That annoying woman June was back this afternoon to take the Honda Civic Hybrid into Kingston to have it looked over by a mechanic. As always when our cars go to the mechanic, I expected the worst, but the main issue they found was a leaking rear shock absorber, one of the two bad shocks installed by Mavis Discount Tire back in the summer of 2012, shocks they utterly failed to make good on despite repeated complaints. We'd had the worst of those shocks subsequently replaced by our trusty (and cheap) mechanic down on Hurley Mountain Road, though recently the other had started going bad as well. I could tell because of the way the car handled and the sounds it made. So to learn that that shock was bad gave me confidence in the quality of the mechanic June had taken the car to. She complained, of course, that now she would have to spend a couple hundred dollars getting it replaced, but miraculously it hadn't scuttled plans for the sale. She returned with the car this evening (mercifully having failed to get in an accident) and we proceeded to do the paperwork of transferring the title and signing the bill of sale. Gretchen was at work, so handling June today fell to me. June had actually complained to Gretchen yesterday that I hadn't been very nice, something Gretchen easily dismissed as me not being very social. But knowing she'd said this (and also seeing the light at the end of the tunnel regarding this transaction), I was nicer to June today. I even fixed a blown cigarette lighter fuse and tossed an old CF card reader into the car to help June with the task of moving podcasts onto the Honda's relatively fancy stereo system. There were still a few glitches along the way, such as when I discovered that the Honda has a lapsed inspection. And June completely freaked out when she learned we only had one key for the car. The first wasn't much of a problem; everyone gets a temporary ten day inspection sticker when they buy a new car and (though we've never done it) your're actually supposed to rip off the old inspection sticker when you buy a car even if it still has time left on it. As for the singularity of the key, the only solution June could think of was to take the key with her when she returned to the City so she could immediately make a copy. I didn't tell her the thing I knew: that a duplicated key for a late-model Honda Civic costs on the order of $250. It's just another reason I have come to regard the Honda brand as one that is in steep decline, finding new ways to fleece its loyal customers as it begins to circle the drain (sorry about the sequence of three different metaphors there).

Other things I did today included rewatching nearly all of the Contact, the Judy Foster vehicle wherein she travels to another planet in the constellation Vega via a machine built using instructions beamed from the aliens there. (It was the first time I'd ever heard the term "Vegan" used to mean something other than someone who observes a strictly animal-free diet.) I also watched parts of Gravity, having also rewatched the "stargate" sequence in 2001: A Space Odyssey yesterday. All of these space movies have been reinjected into the cultural consciousness by the new movie Interstellar, which I will probably also be watching at some point.

This evening, my colleague Mike in Los Angeles alerted me to the act that the grand jury in Ferguson, Missouri was in the process of either issuing or not issuing an indictment against Darren Wilson, the police officer who shot and killed the black teen Michæl Brown. As expected, that grand jury failed to indict, and so of course unrest followed in Ferguson and other places, where people were understandably upset that the police can kill black youth with impunity. Following a tip by Mike, I tuned into a live stream from someone named Bassem Masri on a website called Initially it showed police standing in a line with shields, taunted by a crowd. Eventually tear gas canisters were lobbed, a police car caught on fire, and then it all ended with Masri's camera hustling rapidly and crazily down the street. Either Masri decided to run away from something quickly, or a quick-footed thief had stolen his camera and didn't have time (or sense) to turn it off. Masri's commentary wasn't that interesting, so I overlayed it with audio from another feed, this one of the St. Louis County Police Scanner, which included such highlights as a description of a guy who had set a police car on fire ("white male wearing an American Flag bandana"). The two feeds worked well together, and I realized I'd effortlessly assembled my own custom news channel. With a little more work (and more streaming cameras in Ferguson), I could have live-curated feeds to produce my own show.

For linking purposes this article's URL is:

previous | next