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:
   grand mall seizure
Friday, February 13 2015
This morning I was supposed to deliver my Hackintosh to the seed library people for use in the upcoming Phildelphia Flower Show, where it will supply the computational brains of their animation studio (the theme this year for the flower show is Walt Disney, that is, the fantastical movie-making aspect, not the cryonic head-freezing aspect). Upon awaking a little before 8:00am, my concern was whether or not I would be able to get my Subaru started. I went out to give it a try, but when I turned the key it didn't even make a noise. So I went up to the laboratory and got the car battery I've been charging in there. It had two advantages over the battery in the Subaru: 1. it was fully charged and 2: it was at room temperature. I'd looked a the thermometer and noticed that it was about three degrees Fahrenheit at the time. Usually when it's that cold outside the air is very still, but this morning the wind was blowing impressively. I don't believe in wind chill factor, but if you do, then it was much colder than three degrees Fahrenheit.
Unfortunately, I couldn't get the car to start even with a fully-charged room temperature battery. Perhaps at three degrees, the engine was just too tight and the lubricants too viscous to get going. So I ran an extension cord from the garage and put a little electric space heater under the Subaru's open hood and covered the front of the Subaru in a tarp and left it to heat while I walked the dogs up the Farm Road.
It's kind of boring to just walk up and back along the Farm Road, so at the Chamomile Headwaters Trail, I took a left into the forest. Gretchen had apparently attempted going this way once but hadn't made it any further than the frozen Chamomile itself (not more than 30 feet from the Farm Road). This time I set off into the snow without the benefit of a trail. The snow was about knee deep (and deeper in places) and, unusual for snow this old, had yet to develop any sort of crust. Trudging through it was hard going, but I was actually more worried about Eleanor than I was about myself. She had the benefit of following in the trail I was making, but her short legs meant she still had to move through the snow like a fox, leaping with every step and then landing with her bare Pit Bull belly on the snow. And she wasn't the only one suffering; I could see Ramona shivering. Only Penny seemed to be having a great time; her long deerlike legs and furry shepherd belly gave her all the advantages in this environment. Because of the difficulties of walking in such deep snow, I turned back towards the Farm Road and didn't hike down to the Stick Trail as originally planned.
Back at the house, Ramona and Eleanor were delighted to return to a space heated by a woodstove. As for Penny, a small wound that never heals had opened up on her foot and she was leaving spots of blood on the floor. This seems to happen every morning.
The next time I went to start the Subaru, it reluctantly came to life, suggesting that a space heater is a great way to coax life out of dead car on a frigid morning. I left it running until I needed it, gradually filling it with all the computer equipment I would be taking to my morning meeting.
I left the dogs back at the house and drove out to Broadway in Kingston and then over to the Shirt Factory, which contains the temporary space being used by the seed library to prepare the kiosk for the upcoming flower show. Inside, the carpenters were puttering around near the animation studio, a small shed with a slanting roof (built almost identically to the way I built the roof of my greenhouse and woodshed). Eventually the woman who knows the most about stop motion animation arrived, at which point I learned that I would only need to be supplying one display; the other one would be provided by the seed library guys. After explaining the idiosyncrasies of using a Hackintosh (especially this one: do not allow Apple to update the system software), I turned it all over and returned to my car, which started up easily on its own battery.
I drove out to 9W to get some supplies from the ShopRite. I hadn't had any breakfast, so I bought things such as falafel chips and Garden of Eatin' Lime Chili & Lime chips in addition to such staples as grapefruit slices, bloody mary mix, mushrooms, Triscuit Rosemary & Olive Oil crackers. From then on, as I drove around, I took big swigs directly from my bloody mary mix bottle, hoping onlookers would see me and think me a lush. But nobody really notices what you're drinking in your car.
I returned to the Hudson Valley Mall to pick further at the bones of the Radio Shack there. In the Home Depot parking lot, I'd tried to repair the steering wheel cover of my Subaru using electrical tape and realized I didn't have a knife in the glove compartment. So I wanted to get one of those Swiss-Army-style knives being sold there. On the way back from the mall's Chinese-style food court business, I was eating an egg roll (which, for the time being, I believe to be vegan), and I happened to notice a gentleman in front of a store leaning on a baby stroller and looking up at the ceiling. "That's odd," I thought. But then he slowly wilted to the ground, as if his whole body had been overtaken by an enormous cramp. The baby stroller tipped over gently with him, and whatever/whoever was in it somehow avoided spilling out. As for the man, he now lay twitching and convulsing on the tiles. The only other people nearby was the woman walking directly in front of me. While she instinctively righted the stroller, I ran into the nearest store and said, "There's someone out here having a seizure!" A woman in the checkout line let out a shriek and came running out. She was the man's wife. By now, a small crowd of five or six people had gathered, and they were all standing around dispensing advice on what to do. My job here was done, so I continued on my way, still eating my egg roll as I left the mall through the Best Buy.

This even Michæl came over to pick up Penny the Dog, though he stayed for awhile and chatted with me in the living room. At some point I mentioned making a Jacob's Ladder using the old sparking transformer from the boiler. I then realized I could easily recreate it, so I brought Michæl upstairs, set the thing up, and after some trial and error, managed to get a rung of plasma that climbed up about two inches before dissipating, producing plenty of ozone in the process. Later, after Michæl left and Gretchen returned from yet another poetry thing, I had to demonstrate it to her as well.

For linking purposes this article's URL is:

previous | next