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:
   colors are not enough
Thursday, February 26 2015
It was snowing lightly this morning, so I thought I'd try to get the new battery into the Subaru in time for Gretchen to drive it to work at the literacy center in Uptown Kingston. As mentioned yesterday, the battery was a generic one from Home Depot. It fit nicely on the battery pan, but when I went to connect the red twelve volt wire, the cable wasn't long enough to reach the battery's terminal. So I scrounged around in the garage until I found the old Honda Civic's battery wires. I cut the old hot wire a few inches from the terminal and made a little battery-terminal-like nub that I could clamp the Subaru's battery wire around, thereby giving me those necessary few inches. But when I hooked up the wire, there was a dramatic bzzt! of sparks and the car appeared to be completely dead. There was also a thin line of white smoke leaking from a nearby fuse box. Then I realized to my horror that I'd put the new battery in backwards, feeding the positive twelve volts to ground and ground to positive five volts. I'd been misled by the color of the new battery's 12 volt terminal, which had been painted black. In low-voltage applications, black always means ground. I'd completely missed the "+" symbol shallowly-embossed on the plastic body of the battery. This unexpected turn of events meant I didn't have the Subaru ready for Gretchen when she headed off to work. Happily, the snow that had fallen amounted only to a dusting.
At first I feared I'd destroyed all of the car's electronics, but I soon discovered that the only damage that had resulted was a blown wire link (a sort of fuse) in the fuse box. It seemed that had been the source of that trace of white smoke that I'd seen. I didn't even need to replace the link; all I had to do was twist its two melted ends together and the car seemed to be good to go. Well, it could start and the radio worked, and I don't require much more than that. There were two lessons here: 1. If your battery cables don't reach your terminals, perhaps your battery is backwards. And 2. Always confirm battery polarity by looking for symbols. Colors are not enough.

That little ordeal left me with bleeding knuckles and cuticles; it's hard to avoid hurting your hands when temperatures are in the upper teens and skin sensory nerves are only working at 25%. My Lightroom/Webapp client arrived just as I was cleaning up the last of the car-fixing mess in the snowy driveway. He had more work for me but no check.
This evening, Gretchen returned from work and the two of us immediately drove out beyond Woodstock to meet some old friends at a new bar in Bearsville. The friends in this case were our photogenic vegan Buddhist chums C & K who live out on Zena road; we hadn't gotten together with them in a long time. The bar was The Commune Saloon, located in that mystery building between the Bear Café and the offices of WDST. Other businesses have been in that space in the past, but they never last long. The Commune is large but somehow cozy and cheerful, perhaps because of its division into two rooms. Like most Woodstock bars, most of the people there tonight looked to be aging Boomers. We ordered fries and a number of other small dishes off their appetizer menu. The fries were really tasty, but for some reason we mostly got the small-chunk dregs of the batch, which is probably not a good thing to serve to someone likely to blaag about it. Also, $6 seems a little steep for a small dish of deep-fried potato crumbs. As for the other dishes, well, Gretchen found the brussel sprouts too sweet and greasy, though she thought the avocado rice salad was great (she couldn't eat avocado part, of course, due to a deep-seated aversion). As for the beers, I was excited to see Ithaca Flower Power IPA on tap, but maybe the keg was old or off in some way, because the only flavor it had was bitter. I need those notes of citrus to enjoy an IPA. So the next beer I ordered was the Captain Lawrence Smoked Porter, which was fairly good (I'm still not sure how I feel about porters). Conversation ranged from the subject of the new Mexican restaurant Uptown to a lingering discussion of the selfishness of having babies (as opposed to adoption). This is something we all agreed on, though there are a number of people in our vegan-cum-environmentalism circle who are having two and even three children. Because their genes are just that essential to the future of the human race. At some point I got to utter the classic chestnut about a bar where they have "liquor in the front, poker in the rear." K had never heard that rhymeless couplet.
We were still hungry after we left the Commune, so Gretchen and I said goodbye to C & K and walked to the nearby Little Bear, the Chinese restaurant. There were a bunch loud, drunk Boomers at the bar, but we were the only customers there just sit down and eat. We ended up ordering a stuffed tofu skin thing that was really greasy and perhaps a bit too sweet and green peppery for Gretchen. But I loved it. I also drank an enormous amount of Chinese tea.

Celeste (top) and Oscar enjoying the new cat tower I put together for them yesterday.

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